I am not the type of person who visits a city for it’s art museums. But if I am somewhere and there is an interesting museum around and I have nothing else to do I go there now and then. Concerning the Met, I knew I would have to go there. I cannot be in New York for six months and not go to the Met at least once. It scared me though, because it is just so incredibly big and the collection is so incredibly huge. How to start? But my time is running short, so I finally decided to spent an afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art now.
I made a mistake when I arrived there. I came walking up 5th Avenue and there is construction going on at the site. An arrow said something like “enter here” a block south of the Main Entrance. So I ended up in the ground floor instead of the Great Hall. Not the best way to start. I will need to come back at least to use the Main Entrance.
I checked out the Hopper paintings on the first floor first. There are three of them in Modern and Contemporary Arts. Among them the famous “Lighthouse at Two Lights”.
After a stroll through the rest of that section – pretty amazing! – I went upstairs to see 19th- and Early 20th-Century European Paintings and Sculpture. That’s where all the Impressionists are, Degas, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Van Gogh, just to mention a few. On my way to there the store caught my attraction first. I found a print that must hang in my living room and some other stuff that might be nice little presents. I didn’t want to carry the poster around though, and I thought I would get it in any Met Store, at least in the main one downstairs.
The collection really struck me then. It is indescribable. There are so many paintings. Famous ones as well as those of artists I had never heard of. Camille Corot for instance. His work impressed me. I found out that there is a great variety in Picassos work and that I like his early ones after thinking I don’t like Picasso for many years. Monet’s water lilies, Manet’s people, Degas’ dancers, Renoir’s sceneries, Van Gogh’s irises. It is amazing, to really see them all. Not in a book or on a print, but really.
m afraid I will have to go back. The more so as the main shop apparently does not sell the print for my living room.
Before I went to the museum I had lunch with Soh Ang in a Sichuan restaurant near her
office. We shared another try of soup dumplings – better ones this time. I had
crispy orange chicken, Soh Ang had a spicy dish with tofu and fish. My chicken
was tasty, but not easy to eat. The fried pieces were big and I had just chop sticks and a
fork. It was marked with one of three chilies, but could have been spicier.
After the museum I went to the Algonquin, to join the launch party for the Dorothy
Parker Cocktail Guide. I picked up a Pumpkin Spice Latte on Lexington Avenue
and took the 6 train to Grand Central. From there I walked though nightly
Manhattan at 6 pm. At the Algonquin Matilda, the hotel cat, again was not where she should be – on the reception counter. Kevin, the author, remembered me when he signed my copy of the book. He thanked me for coming, said he would tell something about Miss
Parker in a little while and recommended “French 75” from the book.
I sat down, started browsing through the book and waited. Nothing happened. A waiter came around with samples of the Algonquin cocktail –rye, vermouth and pineapple juice. Still nothing happened and I had another sample. At 7:45 I lost patience and left.
On my way home I grabbed a cold bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to have at least a bit of a birthday party on my own. Rachel and Noel were at home and had a visitor, Nick, who would stay for a couple of days. I offered them a glass of wine to have a toast. Rachel sank to the floor because she had forgotten it was my birthday. She and Nick hurried to get some cake for me then. Three pieces of different cheesecakes. They came with candles on them. I had to make three wishes and blow out the candles. Then they sang Happy Birthday for me and we had a toast and shared the cakes. The cheesecake – from Grand Café of 30th Avenue – was very nice by the way, especially the plain one.
What I learned today:
Don’t be scared of art museums. Go there!