by Wendy Giman, 12/18/2013
Photo: Rich Gawron
Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art
338 Lighthouse Ave., 718-987-3500, Staten Island
Established in 1945, this Tibetan art museum is designed as a Himalayan mountain monastery and fittingly sits on one of the highest points on the Eastern Seaboard. Jacques Marchais, who supported her mother as a child elocutionist at the turn of the last century, grew up to be a leading Indian and Tibetan art dealer in the 1930s, when museums were just starting their collections. She kept the best for herself and created this "jewel of the hillside" out of the home she shared with her husband. A terraced garden complete with a fish and lotus pond surround the buildings, which include a library, meditation rooms and a chanting hall. New York City may have been founded 400 years ago, but at this oasis, the surroundings feel thousands of years older and filled with culture and tranquility. And if you're traveling there via the Staten Island Ferry, you can establish the proper Zen state in advance by sitting on the lower level; the views are just as spectacular, minus the crowds.