Wednesday, July 11, 2012

At The Met

11 July 2012

Still a bit LA jetlagged.

We planned to do the Statue of Liberty today but it said the weather would be cloudy so instead we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, another ticket in the Citypass booklet.

It was still a warm day and it was a pleasant enough walk to the museum through Central Park. Chased a couple of squirrels and didn't get too lost, except when we walked along an extra block.

Once inside I headed to an exhibition on nudes in photography which was rather fascinating. A lot of the original nude photos were "figure studies" for painters - it was cheaper to have a photo of a model in a single pose than to have her coming into the studio all the time. Still, the small collection showcased censorship in all its myriad forms.

Spent a fair bit of time in the 19th century galleries, enjoying the impressionists, especially the pastels of Degas and of course Monet's bridge and lilies (no frogs). Pissaro's images of France looked just like our cycling trip. We also clocked up another couple of Van Gogh's including a gorgeous sunflower painting and the Field one. Took a photo of the self portrait with rabbit ears.

We had hot dogs for lunch from the stands out the front, operated as a kind of charity for wounded American soldiers. We can't believe the US treats its veterans so badly, especially when they spend so much on wars and people drive around with "support our troops" magnet ribbons on their cars. What crap. Hot dog was nice, though. Luke made the mistake of ordering extra "chili" and was given mince meat with hot chili flavour on top of the frankfurter. Ew.

After a coffee we perused the American paintings (Washington Crossing The Delaware is heading in the wrong direction) and then looked at the guns, swords and armory. Very Highlander. Luke said it's the only museum we've been to with guns on display.

Also checked out the ancient instruments and then did a quick runner through the European masters gallery, clocked up a few more Rembrandts and Vermeers. We had 15 minutes to find the Salvador Dali's and didn't really get to enjoy the Surrealism stuff before the rude security guards herded us out. We nearly walked out with the audio guide, perhaps we should have kept it.

5.30pm saw us walking back through central park, tipping a saxophone playing busker and being horrified at the GIANT turtle in the boat lake (along with a whole herd of smaller turtles). Then it was up the hill to Strawberry fields, where the John Lennon "Imagine" memorial mosaic is. Lots of people having photos taken but also a very pleasant, quiet and relaxed vibe. Luke admired a silly dog for a while and I had a Strawberry Shortcake ice cream, like a weird Gaytime.

On a whim walking off we bought a few bottles of cider, went back to the benches and had a drink with John Lennon. Very nice. there was an old couple there just enjoying the vibe - except the lady absolutely barked at someone who was riding their bike through the area: "you get off that bike right now!!" We also saw someone walk over the top of the flower-strewn memorial - everyone was suitably horrified but no lynchings took place.

After our drinks we walked north to the Indian restaurant on Amsterdam st for dinner. Not too bad although the waiter poured the water like he was Riff Raff. Worse were the two American women right near us talking at the top of their voices about the most inane stuff, interspersed with a lot of "like I said, like, you know, like..." In the end they were the only ones talking in the whole restaurant, the rest of us suffered in silence. Finally they went away. Phew.

Tonight was Manhattanhenge, when the sun lines up with the east-west grid streets. We didn't get the full experience because there were a few too many trees but we got the idea.

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