museum + queens = adventure

This Wednesday I took the morning off and met up with a friend of mine for a long-anticipated trip to the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD!) and Build It Green in Queens. First stop: the museum. The scale of this wonderfully designed museum is nice and manageable (think Cooper-Hewitt in size), and the building itself was completed just over a year ago. The architecture firm is called Allied Works ( and I specifically LOVE the windows on the ground floor and the exterior lines of the structure.  An amazing design firm based out of Portland, OR- what's not to love? Anyway, the museum is currently showing "Slash: Paper Under the Knife," a two-floor exhibit of some beautiful, some disturbing, all totally unique pieces made strictly from paper. Pictures aren't allowed in the museum, which means every time I get a good one, I feel like a naughty child stealing candy. It's thrilling. See some below, and try to make it to the exhibit. Thursday nights from 6-9 are pay-what-you-wish and the exhibit runs through April, so you've got some time.

Check out this Tim Burton-esque diorama...

paper exhibit

And look at this great use of the light on the pre-existing window:

paper int window

Fun and original art!

After the exhibit we strolled across Central Park South and hopped on the N/W heading towards Queens, where we got off at 30th Ave. Build It Green, here we come! It didn't take long at all and I love the elevated train's views of the city, bright graffiti, and Long Island City's factories. Just so urban.

Directions from their website (

Take N & W lines to 30th Ave. Walk WEST toward Manhattan one block on 30th Ave. Wait at busstop for Q18 or Q102 bus going WEST. Take bus for 10 minutes to 27th Ave and 4th Street. Walk down 4th Street to 26th Ave.

Build It Green! Warehouse is 1/4 block to LEFT on 26th Ave.

Jon and I skipped the bus and just walked, which probably took about 15 extra minutes. The architecture along the way is pretty interesting with some surburban homes sprinkled among Queens row-housing, and if it's nice out, I recommend the walk.

build it green ext

I had no idea a place like this existed in New York. Picture this: huge warehouse space with the occasional stream of muffled light coming through dirty skylights, several tiers of wood slats, doors, toilets, furniture, signs, you-name-it filling the space, and price tags that make you feel like you might actually have left New York for a brief moment. It's glorious. For the less creative, this might seem like a big pile of junk, but I promise it's a goldmine. Recover a funky old chair. Use an old door as a coffee table. Hang antique shutters on the wall as an idea board for your office. Everything is reasonable; most of the chairs I saw were around $50, and wood pieces are sold by the foot. See some images below:

BIG int sign

BIG trim int

You can also pat yourself on the back for shopping here; the goal of this non-profit company is to keep salvaged and surplus building materials from ending up in the landfill. Instead they resell it at a major discount. It's a win/win for the environment and your wallet. And your home!