Travel There – Museum Girl Goes to the Met
So far in NYC, our days have started with a long list of attractions. On this day the list narrowed down to the one thing I’d been wanting to do for as long as I could remember – visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. No aimless wandering for this Museum Girl. I’d read everything I could get my hands on. I had my tickets in hand. I had also printed out a map from the internet, highlighting the most important areas and numbering the order we should see them in.
I know sometimes you look forward to something for a long, long time and when you get there it is a disappointment. That was not the case in this situation. I loved every minute of it and would go back again tomorrow – but my map would look different.
Getting There was Part of the Fun
I’ve mentioned before how perfect the Sheraton New York Times Square hotel was as the headquarters of this vacation, but I’m going to say it again. If I ever get back, I’ll stay there again.
Excited about the day to come I woke up at 1:30, 3 and 5. At six I finally got out of bed and made myself ready for the day. We had our breakfast and set out on the sidewalk towards Central Park.
It was a glorious day, crisp and clear. Other tourists and New Yorkers went about their business. Something that surprised me about the city it was the lack of crowds. I thought the sidewalks would be shoulder to shoulder and the streets, bumper to bumper, but it was oddly sedate. Since I’d never been there before, I can’t tell you whether this was the result of the pandemic or I’d just over-imagined it.
I cannot tell you the joy I felt strolling through Central Park. It’s a beautiful place and the city is so lucky to have it. Even though I’d never been there, it felt familiar, because so many movies and TV shows are filmed here. I kept saying to myself, “I’m here! I’m really here!”
We took a turn to the east at the famous Bethesda Fountain and made our way to the Met. If I’d been wanting a crowd, here it was. A line snaked around the front of the building and down the sidewalk. Unfortunately, those were the people with tickets. It really didn’t take long, because it was just a security check and then we were in. We’d entered on some lower level and I’d planned my tour to begin on the main floor, so getting oriented was a bit disorienting, but soon I was gawking at all the things I’d dreamed of.
Galleries of Heaven
Our day at the Met began with European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. We saw the Robert Lehman Collection and visited the European Paintings. I was in heaven. I love it all. I really couldn’t believe I was really there.
We took a lunch break at The Eatery. Like the café on Ellis Island, everything is prepped and wrapped in cellophane, but the fare is a notch above. The atmosphere is much tonier also. Everything is modern, white and accented with blonde wood. If you’re going to be at the museum all day, like we were, then it was the perfect spot for lunch.
We enjoyed the break and headed towards the American Wing. Those Europeans might have been around longer than us, but we caught up fast. I wandered around just as amazed in this wing as I had been during the morning. As much as I love paintings and sculpture, decorative arts are my passion. I can look at vases, cups and spoons until the cows come home. The Met delivered. Deb and I wandered into a section which held case after case after case of humble items made beautiful. These are not the showstoppers of the museums, more like the pantry, but I loved them.
It was time for another break, so we went to the American Wing Café for a glass of wine. This is such a great space. You are actually in the American Wing Gallery, not hidden away like The Eatery. Table space is at a bit of a premium and I suppose the abandoned glasses, cups and plates were a sign they were a bit understaffed, but it was a break we needed.
I’d saved ancient history for the end of the day and we saw as much as we could, but we were pooped. I wish I’d had time to go back the next day and start filling in the blanks, because I know there were many, but there’s just so much that a brain can digest on a single day. We walked across Central Park to catch the subway, which delivered our weary bodies almost at the doorstep of our hotel.
But the day is not yet over! Come back next week for a taste of Broadway. We’ll go to the All Hirshfield Theater for Moulin Rouge.