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New York's Museum of Modern Art Temporarily Moves to Queens - 2002-06-27

The Museum of Modern Art, a top New York City tourist destination, is moving temporarily from its fancy neighborhood in Manhattan to an ethnically diverse, mixed industrial and residential area in Queens, another bourough in New York City. The Museum of Modern Art is hailing its new location as a culturally rich spot to be.

Queens is home to more than two million New Yorkers and is one of the most diverse areas in the world. With significant Greek, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Colombian, Indian, Arab, Turkish and Jewish populations, the borough offers a wide variety of food, music, languages and arts. Now a renowned art institution, the Museum of Modern Art, which attracts visitors from all over the world, is opening in the midst this culturally rich section of New York.

Glenn Lowry, the director of MoMA, as the museum is fondly called, says Queens has a lot to offer visitors. He says he hopes visitors to the museum's new site will take advantage of nearby cultural attractions, while MoMA's building in Manhattan is being enlarged and renovated. "We're thrilled to be here," Mr. Lowry said. "This is a community that is already rich in cultural resources whether it is the Socrates Sculpture Park or the American Museum of the Moving Image or the soon to be open Sculpture Center and Museum for African Art, this is an interesting, rich cultural community and we are happy to be a part of it."

MoMA may just be opening its doors in Queens, but the museum has a history of cultural and educational programs with various institutions in the borough.

Outgoing MoMA President Agnes Gund says Queens has always been her favorite borough. She has worked extensively in the five boroughs of New York with the museum's studio-in-the-school program, and she believes Queens was the right choice for the museum's temporary move. "As has happened with Chelsea and is now happening with Harlem, we have achieved a critical mass in the neighborhood and I'm excited to watch as it will grow and flourish, and we will do this together," she said.

MoMA's relationship with Queens will not end after the museum returns to its posh Manhattan location in 2005. The museum plans to use the Queens building as a permanent storage space for collections, as well as a facility for conservation, study and research.

President-elect Robert Menschel, who will take over the office next month, says he is fortunate to be a part of MoMA at this time. "At this exciting time in the museum's history," he said, "to be witnessing the birth of MoMA-Queens and the exhibitions that will be here for the next two and a half years, is as much excitement as I guess I could have. MoMA is the finest museum of modern art in the world and is the vanguard of progress, and not only in New York City, but in the nation."

MoMA says it will offer a full schedule of exhibitions and events at the former staple factory-turned museum, while construction is underway at its Manhattan address.