Madison Avenue at 87th
Susan and I had planned that today that we would visit the Metropolitan Musuem of Art. It had been a long time since we'd seen it. So, after a complimentary breakfast of omelettes and juice at the hotel, we folowed the established routine and took the NJT bus to the Port Authority. Once there, we tried a diffferent routing to get to the Upper East Side and the museum. Instead of surfacing at 42nd Street, we took an E Train subway directly over to the Lexington Avenue station. (That's where we had picked up the subway the previous afternoon after the architecture walk.) At Lexington, we connected with a 6 Train subway to go up Lexington Avenue to 86th Street.
The Metropolitan Museum is at 82nd Street and Fifth Avenue.
Park Avenue at 87th
So, one has the choice of taking the subway to 77th or to 86th Street and then walking over. I chose 86th as it would proivde a glimpse of the East Side in the "Eighties". We walked over along 87th. The street led past intesections with Park Avenue and Madison Avenue and past mid and high rise aprtment, condo, and coop buildings. It would be nice to live here! (Of course it would also be very
expensive!) We observed that there were a lot of medical offices along here, too, in townhouses and in the buildings. Internists? Maybe psychiatrists even? The labels on the doors did not identify the specialities. A small building caught my eye. "Liederkranz 1847" it proclaimed over the entranceway. Was that Liederkranz Hall? (I'd heard of the recital hall where chamber and vocal performances and auditions take place.
) I took a photo and later found out that, yes, my supposition had been correct. (Liederkranz was a singing society founded by German immigrants in the 19th century. It is still active.)
Arriving at Fifth Avenue and 87th Street, I had more architectural agenda items. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of modern art was one block up. Of coruse, we had to go there for photos of the landmark building. The Guggenheim was the last major building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It was celebrating it's 50th anniversary. Lots of photo ops here. It was interesting to note the number of vendors out in front selling of hot dogs and umbrellas. (It was still raining.). That made for a contrast to Wright's flowing ribbon-like design for the buidling.
I tried to mimic the famous close-in photo angles and also take some of the buidling as a whole. I snuck up to 90th while Susan was in the museum's gift shop to get a shot of of the the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum
. The musuem is in the former Andrew Carnegie mansion. Across the corner was the Church of the Heavenly Rest
, a Gothic Episcopal church similar in style to St. Thomas. I met up with Susan back at the Guggenheim and then it was time to walk down Fifth Avenue to the Met.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is so enormous it can't be seen in one day or even in several days. Egypt had been on our minds since since talking with friends who recently returned from a trip there. (It's in our plans, too.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum (1959)
Maybe in a few more years.) So, we were in the mood to focus on the Met's extensive Egyptian holdings. The Egyptian Art
galleries tell the story of its civilization from prehistory through the famous dynasties to the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. The oldest Egyptian items on display include pottery and arrow points that might have bene produced by any prehistric people. How did that lead to the monuments and finely wrought jewelry and ornamentation in the following galleries, one ponders. It did, as on display is an amazing collection of statues, mummy cases, sculpture, jewelry, personal items, and two full size temples. Hand mirrors still reflect. As they reflect your face, you wonder who gazed into them in antiquity. Concluding at the Temple of Dendur
, a gift to the USA from Egypt in 1965, one almost feels as if a trip to Egypt had been made.
The Egyptian galleries led to the American Wing where we had lunch at the American Wing Cafe in the courtyard. There is no way to even begin to see everything at the Met, but we walked a bit through the galleries of Medieval Art and European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. Returning to Egypt, we saw more of the Ptolemaic and Roman period displays. Afterwards, we spent time at the museum's gift shop, with an eye to Christmas shopping opportunities.
Heading back, we walked down Fifth Avenue next to Central Park. This area along Fifth Avenue is known as Museum Mile. Together with the Met, the Guggenheim, and the Cooper-Hewitt, the Frick Collection, Neue Galerie, and Whitney Museum of American Art are all located within a few blocks of one other.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum (1959)
It's also interesting to see the many 19th and early 20th century mansions that line Fifth Avenue. They have now been adapted to other uses ranging from museums to apartments. Crossing back over to the Lexington Avenue subway at 77th Street, we made our way back to the Port Authority to return to our hotel before venturing out again to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Again we stopped at Au Bon Pain to pick up bagels for later.
This was a Friday evening, so we wanted to be sure we allowed sufficient time to return to Manhattan for the show, allowing for rush hour traffic through Lincoln Tunnel. Returning took about 70 minutes and we were on 42nd Street at 7:15 p.m. We hoofed it over to Avenue of the Americas, through the Diamond District, and to Radio City Music Hall.
We were seated just as the show began. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular
is most defintely a "spectacular spectacular". Rockettes. Pageants. Music. Dancing. Singing. More Rockettes. Thoroughly enjoyed it!
After the show, took a look at Rockefeller Center Plaza. Skaters were out on the ice rink and scaffolding for decorators now surrounded the Christmas Tree. We made our way up Fifth Avenue to the subway station at 53rd, admiring the illuminated Atlas sculpture and St. Patrick's Cathedral along the way. A great conclusion to another great trip.