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Festival Offers Free Admission to Fifth Avenue Museums

 The festival, now in its 36th year, transforms Fifth Avenue into a block party for the arts.
Museum Mile Festival
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UPPER EAST SIDE — More than 20 blocks of Fifth Avenue will transform into a big block party for the Museum Mile Festival on Tuesday.

Nine museums — including The Met, the Guggenheim and El Museo del Barrio — will offer free admission from 6 to 9 p.m. for the 36th annual event. The stretch between 82nd and 105th streets will be closed to traffic, with musicians performing jazz and Broadway tunes. There will also be several kid-friendly street performances and museum activities.

The Museum Mile festival started in 1978 as a way to garner attention and support for the arts during the city’s fiscal crisis of the 1970s, event organizers said. Since then, more than 1 million people have taken part in the event.

This year’s festival-goers can check out the first exhibition of New York City graffiti art from the 1970s and '80s at the Museum of the City of New York, view acclaimed modern art that was deemed degenerate by the Nazis at Neue Galerie, and see couture ball gowns designed by Charles James at the inaugural exhibit of the Met’s new Anna Wintour Costume Center.

The Jewish Museum, the National Academy Museum and School, the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the Africa Center will also participate with exhibitions.  

Kids can check out jugglers and clowns, get their faces painted, see a magic show, or create chalk drawings and letter block art with museum educators.

The event will kick off, rain or shine, with a 5:45 p.m. opening ceremony at the Museum of the City of New York.