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Collective sigh of relief: A full year later, Downton is back in all its soapy glory. (Can we get in on that Lady Mary / Mr. Carson hug?) And coincidentally enough, the Museum of the City of New York is also enjoying some period drama with a lavish new exhibit, ?Gilded New York.?

What you?ll see Extravagant dresses, delicate opera gloves, exotic feathered fans, ornate cigarette cases and elaborate tea service sets from New York?s first wave of flashy nouveau riche--the Carnegies, the Guggenheims and such--of the late-19th and early-20th centuries. (Alice Vanderbilt?s electricity-announcing gown is kind of unreal.)

What will blow your petticoat up Go for the eye candy; stay for the history lesson on...magazines? This was a time when flamboyance ruled, so it wasn?t enough to host an over-the-top gala at a newly erected Fifth Avenue mansion?you also had to print a hardcover book of photos of the family posed around the home. And thus Mr. Vanderbilt?s House and Collection essentially became the first shelter mag. Now if it had only included a gossip column from Mrs. Patmore downstairs....

Runs through November 2014; the Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Ave. (at E. 103rd St.); 917-492-3330 or

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