Several arts museums and cultural institutions in New York City closed or delayed their opening hours today, September 29, as excessive rainfall from the leftovers of Tropical Storm Ophelia resulted in a deluge of life-threatening flash floods, numerous public transportation disruptions, widespread power outages, and roadway blockages across the Northeast region.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan canceled its evening programs scheduled for tonight and announced that its Fifth Avenue location will close at 5pm “due to inclement weather.” In Long Island City, Queens, the Noguchi Museum remained closed all day in response to extreme flooding that overwhelmed Vernon Boulevard along the East River, where the arts institution is located.
“It was pretty wild this morning, but our team worked on clearing a few blocked storm drains along our stretch of Vernon and thankfully the water has started to go down,” Amelia Grohman of the Noguchi Museum told Hyperallergic. The institution experienced some mild flooding in its basement; however, staff reported “no damage to artworks.”
By shortly after 10am, Governor Kathy Hochul declared a State of Emergency for New York City, Long Island, and areas in the Hudson Valley due to the “extreme rainfall.” At 1:45pm, the National Weather Service reported that 4 to 7 inches of rain had fallen in Kings County in Brooklyn at a precipitation rate of half an inch to one inch per hour.
The arts center Pioneer Works, based in Red Hook, Brooklyn, also closed its gallery space today citing concerns for the safety of staff and visitors. Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that his office had flood reports in at least 29 locations across the New York City borough.
In Manhattan, the Rubin Museum announced online shortly before 1pm that it was canceling a cultural event scheduled for tonight “due to widespread flooding and substantial mass transit disruptions.”
Other cultural institutions that remained open today also experienced delayed hours, including the Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art, both of which opened at noon due to the torrential downpours. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority also reported severe disruptions across train lines and urged commuters to stay home.