Art Galleries and Museums in New York City

Lab Reports, Maps, Visualization


As the art capital of the United States, New York City has a collection of some of the most influential and iconic artwork. This project aims to showcase the Art galleries and Museums located in the 5 boroughs of the city with the majority of them being in Manhattan. 

I utilized Carto which is a software as a service cloud computing platform that provides GIS, web mapping, and spatial data science tools. I have used the 14 day free trial offered by Carto in order to create this visualization. 


Like a lot of internet users, Google Maps is my most used tool when it comes to searching places. In fact, a new consumer survey from Brandify found that 77% of respondents use Google Maps to find “near me” business information well ahead of other sites. My first inspiration for this project came from Google maps and how they represent the data.

Google Maps

Second inspiration was a visualization by Simon Evans and Rosamund Pierce on US electricity sources. This interactive map represents power sources which are color-coded by type and circle size indicating the power output generated by the source. Although I find this visualization very informative, I think the legend would have made more sense without an opacity in its background. 

Visualization showing US electricity sources


In order to create this visualization, I used the following steps:

Step 1: Finding the Dataset

The first dataset that I started working on was a shapefile which can be found here. This data set contains information and locations of E Designations, including CEQR (City Environmental Quality Review) Environment Requirements and CEQR Restrictive Declarations. An E Designation provides notice of the presence of an environmental requirement pertaining to potential hazardous materials contamination, high ambient noise levels or air emission concerns on a particular tax lot. I couldn’t go forward with it because I didn’t find any more data related to it. In this initial visualization, I created a heat map.

Initial Visualization

Even though I looked through various different websites to gather information, the data for this project was collected from NYC open data. I created this visualization using three datasets which included data on New York City museums, New York City Art Galleries and it’s borough boundaries. Data on museums and art galleries was provided by the Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT) and data on the boundaries of NYC boroughs was provided by the Department of City Planning (DCP). 

Step 2: Carto

After uploading my data which was in GeoJSON format to Carto, a map was automatically generated. The next step for me was to structurize it and decide the sequence of all three layers.

Since museums and art galleries were creating a lot of clutter due to overlapping, I had to stylize them in terms of the colors, point sizes and its opacity in order for them to be easily differentiated. I was able to segregate different boroughs using the color tool. 

Segregating different boroughs of NYC

Step 3: Figma

Since I couldn’t see the legend when I published the map, I used Figma in order to represent the data with a legend for better understanding. 

Results & Discussion

I created this visualization using three datasets that represent the Art Galleries and Museums present in different boroughs of New York City. Even though New York City as a whole offers some of the best museums and art galleries, Manhattan has the greatest number in both the categories especially considering its area in comparison to the other boroughs. It is even said that Manhattan is the economic and cultural center of the United States. Below is the representation of both kinds of data separately:

Art Galleries

This visualization clearly indicates that after Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens have the most number of Art Galleries. Reason due to which the other two boroughs have only some of the art galleries in comap is unclear. 

NYC Art galleries shown on the Map
Details that show up on clicking 


It can be seen through this visualization that just like art galleries, Manhattan has the most number of museums in the city and Brooklyn and Queens have the same number of museums. 

NYC Museums shown on the Map
Details that show up on clicking 

Below is the final visualization which shows that there are more art galleries in the city than museums but both are present in significant amounts. 

Final visualization


Like for almost every other visualization I’ve done in this semester, finding datasets for this project also took time for me. I initially started with some other datasets just to understand how the software works and also realised that the options for the kind of representation mostly depend on the data. For some of the datasets, I didn’t get options like heatmaps, grids, hexbin which are few of the ways other than points to showcase the data. Once I finalised the datasets I wanted to work with, there were other features that I couldn’t figure out. The one major reason that I could think of was because I was using a trial version on Carto. I realised that the initial trial version features doesn’t suffise and so I used figma to add additional requirements for this visualization like labels. 

Some of the areas where I faced some difficulties are:

  1. I couldn’t change the label colors in the box once the points were clicked even though I had the option available.
Label color couldn’t be customized

2. The legend disappeared once the map was published. 

Final Map without legend

3. Both the categories (art gallery and museum) were overlapping each other. I also tried presenting one of them as a heatmap but it wasn’t solving the purpose and was creating more clutter. 

Museums presented as heat map

4. I wanted to add a filter to select either art galleries or museums on the map but I didn’t see that feature being available to me in this version of Carto. 

If possible, I would like to create something with the paid version of Carto to see what are the possibilities and features that are offered in that version and to be able to use features like having filters in the map, function to see the data in different timelines, etc. I would also like to find some more complex datasets to see the potential of this software.