Nestled on a quiet(er) stretch of Fifth Avenue, where Museum Mile tapers off into East Harlem, the Museum of the City of New York is a tiny institution that of late has housed some very big ideas. MCNY’s photo exhibition on Sandy and its aftermath was sensitively done, intelligently paced, and visually stunning, while the “Activist New York” exhibit is a buoyant and celebratory look at the movements that defined the various decades of city life. This is not a large museum, which is part of the charm: You can do the whole place in an afternoon and still make time for coffee at the surprisingly lovely café upstairs. This isn’t a museum for tourists; it’s a place for New Yorkers to consider how we live, and to learn about what has shaped this city we call home. It’s also worth a visit solely to see the charmingly weird Stettheimer Dollhouse, filled with miniature works by some of the great artists of the 20th century.