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My favourite museums in New York

Ah the Big Apple, home to the monumental Metropolitan Museum of Art, the architectural wonder that is the Guggenheim, the stylish Museum of Modern Art.

I love museums and have trekked through all these New York landmarks. But my favourite museum in the city is one that is often overlooked, tucked away on a quiet sidestreet among the other behemoths on the Museum Mile. I'm talking about, of course, the tiny Frick Museum, located on the corner at 70th and 5th.

It looks like a small, unassuming building now, a low-rise structure dwarfed by the high-rise condominiums around it. But this once was the grand manor home of wealthy American industrialist Henry Clay Frick. Given its history as a home, the museum has retained a certain domestic charm. Unlike the intimidating sprawl of the Met, or the dizzying spiral of the Guggenheim, the Frick offers human scale rooms, spread over two gentle storeys. 

And its curators turn its modest size to its advantage, often programming small, but carefully thought through shows that focus on quality over quantity. Over the years that I've visited New York, I've seen beautiful shows at the Frick - ranging from Vermeer works to French Impressionists to Italian Renaissance artists. There is a wonderful intimacy to this museum, with the gorgeous Fragonard room with its frilly frescoes by the French painter and the elegant Living Hall with its parade of understated masterpieces by El Greco and Titian. 

It is not just the works collected by Frick but the beautiful craft that fills the nooks and crannies - porcelain and bronzes, period furniture and lush carpets. It evokes a luxe grandeur that indubitably is attainable only if one is very very rich. And I suppose one of the pleasures of this cameo of a museum is the momentary fantasy, while strolling through its hushed halls, that one might aspire to this kind of quiet sophistication.