Friday, December 11, 2009

Wandering on 5th Avenue & The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Today we got a bit of a late start, even later than usual. When you're spending five weeks on the road the vacation has to have a bit of ebb and flow to it, and there has to be days that are a bit more restful, even by our laid back style of vacationing. We ended up taking a long walk down 5th Avenue, checking out all the stores we had only visited on the internet - FAO Schwartz, Tiffany's, Bergdorf Goodman, Apple, Louis Vitton, and all the others. We were wowed by the architecture and the window treatments but we're still not really convinced bricks and mortar is better - I think we've been in Alaska too long! I was excited to see Trump Tower (above) as it was so controversial when it was built back in 1983.

The window treatments just have to be seen to be believed. The scale and attention to detail is just astounding.

Apple has a clear 32 foot cube acting as a storefront with the store located under the sidewalk. This eye catching design is located right in front of the General Motors Building opposite the Plaza Hotel and was built just three years ago.

After walking 5th Avenue we took the subway to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, having a nice meal at Lenox Hill Grill on the walk over from the subway station. Fridays the Met is open until 9 PM so it worked well with our schedule.

We went to a LOT of museums on this trip, some of the nation's best, and I think it was a good idea to have the Met last - it is simply so rich with such depth, no matter what era or medium, it is truly the gold standard. Over a quarter of a mile long, with 2 million square feet of gallery space, the Met has over 2 million works of art in its permanent collection.

This parade of armored figures on horseback is one of the most widely recognized exhibits at the Met. Containing over 15,000 pieces of armor, this is one of the most popular exhibits.

In May of this year the Met re-opened a totally redesigned American wing with 12 different period rooms on display. This was a favorite of mine from a display of "paintings" painstakingly done with embroidery.

I couldn't get enough of the furniture - just amazing . . .

And of course, there is the Met's famous collection of paintings from all over the world. I'm sure you'll recognize some of the favorites that I posted.

Probably one of my top ten paintings, I've always loved it . . .

We could have spent all six days of our New York visit in the Met and still just scratched the surface. It is one of the very few things that New York has that Unalaska doesn't that I am actually jealous of - a wonderful treasure for the world to see, very approachable and well displayed, an admission fee is suggested but not required so all can enjoy the riches. Bravo to an excellent institution.

Okay, I've got to get to bed - we are now actually safely in Boston and I am back dating posts to get caught up with the present. So many photos to weed through, hundreds from just the Met alone. Cheers!


Bloviating Zeppelin said...

As per normal, great photographs, but a couple observations and then a question:

1. Man, have you lucked out. The weather seems fabulous.

2. I'm surprised anyone allowed you to take photographs in some of those museums, particularly the ones containing famous and irreplaceable paintings.

Question: are the prices for food and entertainment and lodging stunning you? I've heard NY is outrageous.


Alaska Steve said...

BZ, you are allowed NON-FLASH photography in most museums. The DSLR serves me well in this capacity - as long as I maintain a steady hand it seems to do pretty well in low interior lighting situations. As for the Met, and some of the paintings, you would be shocked by the access allowed the public. You can literally put your nose right up to a 30 million dollar painting. Seriously. And although they suggest a 20 dollar entrance fee (which I gladly paid), it actually cost nothing. The whole idea and execution gives me a bit of hope for humanity.

As for the food and lodging, you have to remember we are coming from Unalaska/Dutch Harbor, so it is a bit relative. With that said, when we went out to eat we had what we wanted without regard for cost and we have only broken the $100 mark one time on the trip for a meal. There was a time or two we thought it was overpriced, but overall not too bad. By staying in apartments through (vacation rental by owner), we stayed in some fantastic places perfectly located for less than a hotel would be in the same area. We are vacationing during the "high season" and chose locations as we have described - in DC, we could see three monuments on the mall from our balcony; in NYC, our apartment was right off Times Square; and here in Boston there is a subway stop right outside the front door and we are a 2 minute walk from Quincy Market / Haymarket Square. All of our lodging has been between $100 and $190 per night - right in the same price range as a night at the "Grand" back home . . .