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Day 11 in NYC: Sun, 7/6 – The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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I’d gotten a much needed 7 hours sleep, the most on this trip I think. I got the blog up around 9:30 and started making my way over to the only thing I had on the agenda for the day: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

AKA “The Met”, it is the largest museum in the US and 3rd largest in the world. (First is Louvre; 2nd is National Museum of China). It’s in Central Park on the Upper East Side. I haven’t been that far up Manhattan since I was here in 2011.

One of the things about staying in Jersey City that I’d rethink for a next time is how much longer it takes to get anywhere. From here, The Met is 5.3 miles per Google, yet takes over an hour to get there using public transportation. And the majority of the buses I’ve caught from Jersey City have been late. So I started rethinking some of this on this day, spurned, I’m sure, by how tired I am!

First world problems for sure.

The bus from Jersey City stopped of course at the Port Authority Bus Terminal near Times Square. I picked up the E line and got off at Madison Ave around 53rd to catch another bus up to the museum. The museum is on 5th Ave but that runs one way south, Madison is its north running counterpart.

On Madison Ave between 52nd and 53rd looking south
On Madison Ave between 52nd and 53rd looking south
On Madison Ave between 52nd and 53rd looking north
On Madison Ave between 52nd and 53rd looking north
Wide shot of the museum from across the street
Wide shot of the museum from across the street

From the corner of 5th Ave and 81st St.

Selfie in front of a fountain in front of the museum
Selfie in front of a fountain in front of the museum
A tall banner with just the works The Met on it, in the middle of two columns, at the outside entrance
As it’s commonly referred to: The Met
Grand Hall at the entrance of the Met
Grand Hall at the entrance of the Met

Deciding what to photograph and then what to include here is always the challenge. I tried to be pretty selective. What do I either really like, or what is different given how many museums I’ve written about? With that in mind, let’s get started. I’ll likely let the captions speak for themselves.

I first made my way to 19th century European paintings because I knew my favorite stuff would be there.

Two native americans, wearing little, sitting by the water, father holding an infant
The Natchez, by Eugene Delacroix

I can honestly say I’d never seen anything like this. Probably because most of my museums have been in Europe; although this is a French painter, go figure.

Oil on canvas in white, black, and shades of gray. A small boat in the water with 3 men in it, moonlight coming through ominous clouds above them, big rocks in the water in the background
The North Cape by Moonlight, by Peder Balke

I loved the use of lighting here.

A pretty, young woman in late 1800's garb sitting in a wicker chair on a beach with cliffs behind her
By the Seashore, Auguste Renoir
peaches in a white bowl with decorative blue trim, purple and green grapes lieing being is on a white tablecloth
Still Life with Peaches and Grapes, Auguste Renoir. I generally am “whatever” about still life but one of the things I love about Renoir is how he uses color.
A huge sunflower facing you, takes up almost 2/3 of the canvas, with another upside down behind it
Sunflowers, Vincent Van Gogh
Water lilies on a pond
Water Lilies, Claude Monet. He was nearly 80 years old when he painted this.
Lily pond in Giverny

Thought I’d throw this in from my trip last year for comparison. You can see more of my photos from Giverny here.

A brown dirt path with purple irises on either side
The Path through the Irises, Claude Monet
Whirling clouds in Starry Night fashion frame a tall cypress on the right and wheat fields in the foreground
Wheat Field with Cypresses, Vincent Van Gogh. The clouds reminded me of Starry Night. I would have gone to MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) where Starry Night is on this trip except it’s closed until October.
Impressionist style paitning, a woman standing under a tall tree, almost in the background, with a huge bush of hollycock in the foreground
Camille Monet, by Claude Monet. I loved this part of the description: flickering brushstrokes of brightly covered paint make the canvas appear to pulsate with light.
The title pretty much does it
Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies, Claude Monet
horse and buggies moving up and down a Paris street in winger; mostly shades of gray
The Boulevard Montmartre on a Winter Morning, Camille Pissarro, another favorite of mine.
A steamboat close to the river bank, framed by trees, Pointillism style
Gray Weather, Grande Jatte; Georges Seurat. The style is called Pointillism, which grew out of Impressionism. It’s one of my favorite periods, but you don’t see a lot of them. This museum had one by my favorite artist from that period, Paul Signac, but it wasn’t memorable.

Believe it or not, that was restraint.

From here I wandered into the modern art section – yes, I know – but there was a special exhibit called Camp that I wanted to see. Unknown to me, camp as a style has been around for hundreds of years. “In the nineteenth century, the word ‘camp’ acquired distinctive homosexual connotations.” Camp was defined in many ways throughout the exhibit, but the simplest is probably an over-the-top, intentionally exaggerated style – could apply to art, fashion, language. It was a fun exhibit.

almost life sized portrait of Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde, patron saint of camp
Andy Warhol type painting of a Campbell's soup can; and a slim mini dress with the soup can image all over, 4 rows of them.
Why not?
Male mannequin in a title tank top with his belly button showing, navy hat, and black lame pants.
Again, why not? Once you’ve marched in the NYC Pride parade it takes a lot to get your attention. This looks kinda normal to me now.
2 mannequins dressed in purple, the first in a formal 60's chic style, puffy lace with a big bow in the middle; the 2nd a big puff ball of boas maybe with butterflies on sitcks sticking out all over
How would you title this? I was fascinated by the second one. It just cracked me up. Pride parade next year, maybe? I do look great in purple….
A blue chiffon dress, tight at the bodic then many frilly layers, being word upside down
Would be hard to walk in.
A dress that opens up like a flower at the waistline
This reminded me of something out of The Grinch
A large room with 2 levels of square windows, like department store sidewalk windows. Walls are black and room is unlit except for the light coming from the windows. 1-3 Mannequins in each window dressed in wide array of camp
The end of the exhibit ended with a huge splash of camp in one big room
Mannequin in a simple sequined green short dress, with huge TV dinne trays hanging from the arms. One tray filled with traditional mixed vegetables: carrots, peas, corn; the other tray looks like cornbread with a slice of butter on top
I literally laughed out loud! I used to love to those TV dinners!

By the time I was done with Camp I’d been in the museum well over an hour. I typically get full pretty quickly – 2 hours is a good stay for me in any museum.

A healthy looking but naked Christ levitating in front of a cross that's cube-line in form
Crucifixion, Salvador Dali
Faberge eggs
Faberge eggs
Narrow sun room filled with sculptures
I loved this room – reminded me of the Louvre where there is a similar rooms, also filled with sculptures
Huge sun room with 2 story ceiling, lots of scupltures but still pretty open
I do love these sun rooms

Another one, about twice the size of the first.

When I went to the Louvre the first time in 2014, one of the first areas we got to was Egyptian Antiquities. Dan says “let’s take a quick look.” It went on forever and we couldn’t find our way out of it when we were ready. Having seen much more than I ever intended then (all sarcophagi look the same to me now) , my reaction since whenever I encounter Egyptian anything is to run in the opposite direction. Here, it was on my way out and couldn’t easily be avoided. And I discovered something I hadn’t seen before: The Temple of Dendur.

Statue of a pharoah, with a pool of water behind it, temple ruins behind that
An entire huge room dedicated to the ancient Temple of Dendur

The Temple of Dendur was built around 15 BC by a Roman governor. This exhibit was a gift from Egypt to the US for its contributions to the UNESCO campaign to save Egyptian monuments.

Same room with a broader perspective
Entire room from the corner

You were allowed to enter the temple if you wanted. See the line of people going into very small spaces in the center? No, thank you.

Wall of windows
That’s Central Park out there, with the Upper East Side off of 5th Ave in the background
A closeup shot of the temple from the side, covered in hieroglyphics
The temple wall from the side
A small sphinx, about 12 feet long, maybe as high including the base
A small sphinx

By the time I exited I’d spent more than 2 hours and I was done on so many levels. I’d only eaten a street vendor hotdog before I went into the museum and decided it was time for real food. But I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather and walk through Central Park, so I crossed it to get to the Upper West Side.

Open field, people laying about on blankets (or not), with the skyline in the background
A walk through Central Park after, heading to the Upper West Side
Outside Osteria Cotta, lots of tables on the sidewalk
Osteria Cotta, an Italian restaurant on Columbus Ave between 84th and 85th Sts.
Inside the restaurant
Packed house, lively crowd
Arancini at the top of the photo, but mostly it's pizza
Pizza with brussel sprouts and pancetta; that’s arancini at the top

From here I looked at my options for getting home and decided to do something different. I hadn’t experienced PATH yet and wanted to: Port Authority Trans Hudson, trains that run between NYC to NJ. I’d kept wondering why Google never gave me that option, but it just has to do with my specific location in Jersey City. So I mapped directly to the PATH station in Jersey City and would figure it out from there.

I took the 1 train down to Pennsylvania Station / Madison Square Garden, 32nd St at 7th Ave. I’d never been in this area before; completely forgot about photos probably because I was so overwhelmed by people. Penn Station is the 2nd busiest train station in the country (Grand Central being #1) and it showed here for sure. The PATH trains were a block east on 6th so I made my way over. From there, it was no different than any other subway ride.

Statue of Jackie Robinson outside the PATH station
Jackie Robinson, first black player to make it to Major League baseball, played his first minor league game in Jersey City

The Journal Square PATH station where I got out has subway and bus connections inside, but I didn’t know that at first. Long story short: I skipped the bus and took a Lyft back to the house. That was mostly a function of how tired I was. And I wanted to do laundry and make sure I had time for that. I rested a bit, put a load into each of the 2 washers that are here (for free, one of the reasons I picked this place), and went out again in search of dinner.

red awning signs over the windows, corner of the street
Noches de Colombia restaurant

This is a Colombian place about 5 blocks from the house. Somehow I’d never noticed it before but am super glad I stopped.

inside the restaurant, typically set up of counter and tables
inside the restaurant
What looks like a pretty big biscuit
This was described as cheese bread. Sign me up.
The insde fo the cheese bread - hollow, with the cheese baked into the bottom
Hollow inside; the cheese was baked into the bottom. It was wonderful.
A red clay plate willed with fried bite sized meat and crispy triangles of corn meal
This dish might be the best thing I’ve had all trip.

This was an appetizer. I took half of this and probably more than half of the next dish home, easily another meal. The round pieces are fried chorizo – crisp on the outside, a ton of flavor on the inside, not greasy at all, which was a nice surprise. The other meat is chicharrones – pork cracklings, or pork rinds. The meat part was crispy, the fatty part juicy, pretty amazing. The triangles are essentially fried corn meal. Tortilla chip or fried corn tortilla doesn’t quite cut it, this was somehow different than that – thicker than either of those, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside.

thinly cut grilled chicken, fried shrimp, friend plantains
thinly cut grilled chicken, fried shrimp, friend plantains

This was not quite as good as the first dish, although the chicken with the avocado and onion in one bite was terrific.

After that I went back and finished laundry while working on the blog. I went to bed before 11pm, only one other night has been earlier.

The Met ticket is good for 3 days, and includes 2 other museums. We’ll see if I decide to take advantage of that today.

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