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We got a peek at the newly named Philip Johnson Terrace, part of Museum Tower, the Cesar Pelli-designed residential building next to the Museum of Modern Art (Pelli designed the new federal courthouse in downtown Brooklyn).

2006_06_moma3.jpgFormerly the museum's roof, the eighth floor space, designed by Francois de Menil, features a stone floor and a steel pavilion with perforated sheets in the spirit of modernists Philip Johnson and Mies van der Rohe. Acquired by Museum Tower after it permitted MoMA to use its loading dock for the museum's at times loud and dusty renovation, the 2,600 square-foot terrace is home to two lively sculptures.

Forrest Myers' "Chinatown," inspired by the puffing smoke in the memorable poster of the 1974 Roman Polanski film, is made of twisting stainless steel and brass. It's part of the Museum Tower's collection, which boasts a Picasso. Myers is known for "The Wall," the 1972 art installation at Houston and Broadway that was the subject of a years-long preservation dispute, which remains unresolved.


Rachel Whiteread
's "Water Tower," composed of translucent resin and painted steel, stands 12.2 feet high and boasts a nine-foot diameter. Whiteread's 1998 piece remains part of MoMA's collection.

The terrace overlooks MoMA's Sculpture Garden, originally designed by Philip Johnson and reconceived by Yoshio Taniguchi. It also has views of the elegant 1936 Rockefeller Apartments on West 54th Street (part of a strip of land acquired when Rockefeller Center was built) and the 1914 Saint Thomas Church on the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and West 53rd Street.

Head to the center of MoMA's garden on a clear day, face southward, look up and then to the far left. You may get a glimpse of the "Water Tower."

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