For those of you who are looking for a hidden gem in New York City, the Society of Illustrators is certainly one of them. It is located at 128 East 63rd Street in a graceful, five-story townhouse on a quiet residential block on the Upper East Side.
The is a gift shop in the lobby and a small two-floor exhibition space. Admission is free for all visitors on Tuesdays from 5-8pm. Every Tuesday and Thursday there is a Sketch night from 6:30 - 9:30pm, with nude , partially clothes or fully costumed models and live music. The price is $15 and $7 for students/seniors. There's an original Norman Rockwell above the bar on the second floor, and a dining room.
If you are not the member of the society you can buy a Museum Experience Package with Lunch that includes the full buffet, coffee, dessert and a glass of wine. ($30 per person , not including admission). The dining room is open for lunch Tuesday-Friday from 12:00pm to 2:30pm. From spring to early fall, the terrace provides a rare opportunity for dining al fresco in the heart of the city.
The Permanent Collection has of nearly 2,000 works by many of the greatest names in American illustration.
128 East 63rd was originally a carriage house built in 1875 for William P. Read, a personal secretary for financier J.P. Morgan. In the beginning of 20th century two brothers bought the house. They converted the building into a residence and the stable area became a squash court.
The society of Illustrators was founded on February 1, 1901 by nine artists and one businessman with the following credo: “The object of the Society shall be to promote generally the art of illustration and to hold exhibitions from time to time.”
In August 1939, the Society purchased the building for approximately $33,000, which is nearly $500,000 in today’s dollars.