The cultural landscape of the city changed Friday with the additon of the new Whitney Museum of American Art. NY1's Stephanie Simon filed the following report.
There was cheering as the Whitney Museum of American art opened Friday, and the first person in was Scott Christopher, a professional artist and former pro baseball player who lives in the neighborhood.
"I actually came down early this morning. I think it's very important for an artist to make that first footstep into this museum, not only for New York City but for the world," Christopher said. "This is a very important day in the history of art."
Reporters have toured the space, critics have examined it, even the First Lady visited, but the most important person didn't arrive at the new Whitney until now: the visitors. They lined up early for the grand opening.
"It will be a new experience, and that in itself is exciting," said one visitor.
"A great museum. And a new building, a new area, a new happening in New York," said another.
Museum Director Adam Weinberg said its a dream come true to open this new $422 million building in the Meatpacking District after decades on the Upper East Side.
"We're thrilled to finally be inviting people into the museum, the public, because we've spent many, many years building this museum, but the process is not complete until the people see the art," Weinberg said.
So the big question - did they come because they couldn't wait to see the museum or because they wanted to be able to say they were here on opening day?
"I wanted to be part of history and be part of opening day and see what it's like to be one of the first visitors in a new museum," said one visitor.
"We wanted to see the art," said another.
"A combination," said a third. "Wouldn't miss opening day at the Whitney. It's historic. And I wanted to share that with my class here.
Now that it's officially opened, come see the art, and if you're inspired like Scott Christopher, you can make some, too.