9# Throwback Travel- New York: The MET

Probably one of my biggest highlights in New York was visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the MET) on Fifth Avenue. This is the largest and third most visited museum in the world. So no trip to New York would be complete without a visit.

The MET has a collection that boasts two million works, which are split between 17 curatorial departments. The permanent collection includes art and sculpture from Greek and Roman antiquity, ancient Egypt, Middle age to Renaissance European masters, American and modern art, as well as African, Asian, Oceania, Byzantine and Islamic art. There are also various temporary exhibitions that change throughout the year. On my visit, I was only able to cover three quarters the permanent collection on level 1 and the temporary exhibition Manus x Machina. This took me about two hours. So if you plan on seeing it all I would allow for 4-5 hours. To see the extensive size of the museum, see the map.

General admission for the MET is quite reasonable and valid for three consecutive days for all three MET locations. However, depending on if you purchased a New York pass, you may have your entry included. Audio guides are also available in a variety of languages for an additional rate. There are also free guided tours available in a variety of languages throughout the day. You can also find several restaurants and cafes in the museum.

Greek and Roman Art

I started my tour from the left of the Great hall, which began in the Greek and Roman Art galleries. These galleries are bright and airy with plenty of natural light and an extensive collection throughout the age of antiquity. This was probably one of my favourite wings and luckily many people passed through it quickly, allowing me to marvel at these ancient treasures.

Prehistoric and Early Greek Art

Greek Art: Sixth–Fourth Century B.C.

Mid 2nd-1st century, 3rd–1st Century B.C.

Roman Sculpture Court

Later Roman Empire: Third Century A.D

Egyptian Art

The Egyptian art is found in a gallery from the left of the Great hall and continues into The Sackler wing. The main gallery is quite dark, but the various pieces are quite well lite. I was quite impressed by this collection, as it was quite different other travelling Egyptian collections. I particularly liked the paintings and decorative sarcophagus.

The Temple of Dendur in The Sackler Wing

American Wing

The American Wing covers art from the 18th to early 20th century. Within this wing, there is a bright and spacious courtyard which has various sculptures, stain glass and mosaic art. This was another one of my favourite place in the museum. I also enjoyed the various galleries of furnished room and painting artworks. This was my first time seeing American art, so I was quite blown away by the bright use of colour.

The Charles Engelhard Court

American Wing

Medieval Art

The Medieval collection runs through the centre of the first floor. It includes art from the 4th to the early 16th century from Byzantine and Europe. I love Medieval art religious art, so I really enjoyed this area. My favourites are the oddly shaped busts.

Arms and Armor

The Arms and Armor is a small gallery, off the Medieval wing. Apparently it one of the museums most popular collections, possibly because of the impressive ‘parade’ of armoured figures on horseback. This gallery includes weaponry and armour from a variety of geographical regions.

Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology

The last collection was from the 2016 exhibition Manus x Machina, by the Costume Institute. It was housed in the Robert Lehman Wing galleries. It explored designer handmade and the machine-made haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear fashion. There were about 170 garments, spanning from the early 20th century to the present. Each dress was a stunning work of art, due to their intricacy and uniqueness. I didn’t expect to enjoy this exhibition as much as I did. I also appreciated that the garments were not behind glass, so I was able to get a good look and great photos without glare.

This is my last post for my trip to New York. Next I will be taking you to Washington D.C, where I saw plenty more museums, iconic sites and ate plenty of delicious meals.

8# Throwback Travel- New York: Grand Central, Central Park & 5th Ave (day 7)

Hi all! While I’m away on my babymoon to Tasmania, I thought I would continue sharing a couple of posts from my trip to America. These are from our last day in New York on day 7. There is just so much to see in New York, as you have seen from what we did. There is so much more I would like to do when I return one day. I am sure there will be many new attractions and delicious foods to try as well. On the last day we covered Grand Central Terminal, the MET, Central Park and made quite a few stops on 5th Avenue. We also dinned in a old-world Viennese cafe on the Upper East side and New York’s largest dinner.

So on my last day, Octavia and I began the day at the Piccolo Cafe, who are known for there authentic Italian fare and espresso. They have three locations, but I visited the little cafe is in Midtown on 238 Madison Ave. This location is quite tiny but was very popular in the early morning with locals. Their menu offers quite a range of pastries and panini with various fillings, pasta, gourmet eggs and salads. I ordered this delicious Salmon and Egg Sandwich, which was perfect to start the day.

Our first tourist stop for the day was the Grand Central Terminal, also commonly known as Grand Central Station. This iconic station is just stunning and a must-do if you visit New York. It was opened in 1913 and it’s retains its old-world nostalgia, due to its stunning Beaux-Arts architecture. Besides being a transport hub connecting Manhattan, it also offers shopping, dining, tours and other events.

After this, I visited The MET alone. Yes just right, I was by myself. I was not disturbed or rushed through my visit and I took photos of everything. I will do a separate post for this visit to show you all the amazing artwork that I saw.

Meanwhile, Marco, O and his mum visited Central Park. They took their time walking around and enjoying the gardens. I didn’t meet them until later and only got to see a fraction of what they saw. It was so hot this day and everyone wanted to leave. If we had more time I would have loved to do a tour of the gardens. This is probably not the best activity to do in the middle of summer.

For lunch, we stopped into a restaurant nearby on 5th avenue, within in the Neue Gallery. Café Sabarsky is an Austrian cafe, which was inspired by the turn-of-the-century Viennese cafes, which served as a hub for intellectual and artists. It’s headed by Michelin-star chef Kurt Gutenbrunner, who presents a menu with a modern take on Viennese traditional dishes. The dining room is relatively small but the interior is just stunning. The walls are flanked with dark wood, which is adorned with carved embellishments and there is a classic old-style bar. We each ordered a dish from the menu, including Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese, Bavarian Sausage with warm Pretzel & Sweet Mustard and Roasted Bratwurst with Riesling Sauerkraut, Roasted Potatoes & Dijon. The dishes were presently lovely and tasted very nice as well. They were rather small serves, but then for such a fancy place we probably should have ordered a bit more. Especially since I had to split my meal with my toddler.

After that, we took a walk from on 5th Avenue from the Upper Eastside to Midtown. This is a great walk to take in all the amazing architecture and high-end shopping scene. We made a few stops along the way. First, we stopped at the iconic Apple Fifth Avenue. To get to the store we had to go into a cube and down a spiral staircase. It was very crowded down there, just like every Apple store I suppose.

Next, we visited Trump Tower. Now, this was before the election, so I wasn’t so accustomed with the Trump name as we all are now. The interior is very grand, but also a little outdated. For me it’s reminiscent of the the grandeur of New York in the 1980s and 1990s. At the time we visited there weren’t any stores open. Since I had the pram, I had to take a lift to the first floor to get a view of the foyer. There was a doorman inside, who would only allow one customer or couple at a time. It was kind of nice to privately ascend up. While we were there we did get some ice cream from the Trump Ice Cream Parlor. It offers about 16 classic flavours. I believe I tried the Vanilla Honey Baklava, which I hadn’t come across before and it was pretty nice.

Next, we stopped at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This is the grand church we saw while in New York. This church is 140 years old and is the seat of the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. The architectural style is largely Neo-Gothic and is truly stunning both inside and out. It is massive in size and can hold 3000 parishes at once.

Not far from 5th Avenue in Midtown, we also made a stop at the famous Magnolia Bakery at the Rockefeller Centre. This New York bakery is various locations within the city across the US, as well as in Asia and the Middle East. The brand was made famous by the ‘Sex and the City’ series and for its cupcakes. Their menu offer a range of cupcakes as well as speciality weekly cupcake flavours. Additional they offer pies, cakes, mini cheesecakes, brownies, bars, cookies and sweet breakfast muffins, scones and loaves. This particular location is rather small and doesn’t offer seating, so we had to grab and go. For me the cheesecakes looked the most amazing, so we got the Blueberry and Caramel Pecan Cheesecake. Oh my goodness they were amazing. They were so soft, creamy and perfectly flavoured and sweetened. I was in cheesecake heaven. I also hadn’t eaten cheesecake in 6 years, but I promise you they are great.

Our last stop was the American Girl Place, near Rockefeller Plaza. We don’t have these dolls in Australia, but I had heard about them. This store is two levels and features the American Girl dolls, Bitty Babies, Wellie Wishers and merchandise. There is also now a cafe on the bottom level.

I hoped to buy a look-alike doll for my daughter. Unfortunately, she was not interested in American girls or Bitty Babies. Instead, she rather wanted to play in the little house, that is set up for small children. Since they are pretty pricey and would take up a big place in my suitcase I decided not to get one for myself.

For dinner, Marco really wanted to eat in a New York American diner. I reluctantly gave in, since I wasn’t expecting diner food to be that great or healthy. He chose the Tick Tock Diner. It is the largest diner in New York and has a bright classic diner interior. The menu offers fried starters and sides, soups, mac & cheese, burgers, tacos, burritos, pancakes, french toast, crepes, waffles, egg dishes, sandwiches, salad bowls, pasta, pizza and desserts.

Marco and I decided to go with burgers. He got the Cheese Burger and Fries and I got the Turkey Burger and Sweet Potato Fries. To be honest we were a bit underwhelmed by both the presentation and the taste.

Well that’s my last day in New York. My post on the MET will be out soon and then we will move onto Washington DC.

5# Throwback Travel- New York: Animal love in Central Park and Eataly (day 5)

Day 5 in New York was another full day in the heat of summer. We took a magical journey on horse and carriage through Central Park and visited the animals at Central Park Zoo. This was followed by a Broadway show, dinner at the amazing Eataly and visit to The LEGO Store.

But first, breakfast. As I mentioned previously I had been doing mamma-daughter breakfast dates out instead of eating the mass-produced food at the hotel. Today we visited Le Pain Quotidien again. O and I shared a big bowl of organic steel-cut oats and berries. It was really wholesome and satisfying.

Organic steelcut oats and berries, Le Pain Quotidien

Central Park

Our first activity of the day was a horse and carriage ride around central park. We found our coachman on 59th St, across from the Plaza. I can’t remember exactly how much it cost, but I’m sure it was around $60-80 for 30mins. I think if you book it is more expensive, but then I wasn’t visiting in high season. It included commentary by the coachman, of the history of the park and sites of interest. It was a lovely experience and a nice way to get an overview of the park in small time frame.

After that, I was a little hungry, so I stopped into The Plaza Food Hall. There are so many different delicious food options for a quick lunch. I’m not sure why I didn’t take any photos inside, but you can see a video of the food hall (see link). I had a prawn roll and seafood chowder from Lukes Lobster Red Hook, which hit the spot.

Central Park Zoo

Next, we visited the Central Park Zoo. I’ve always dreamed to visit this zoo since it’s so famous. It is probably the smallest zoo I’ve been to, but it had a nice variety of animals and is the perfect places to take little kids. Within the zoo, you can also find the Tisch Children’s Zoo, which offers children the opportunity to pet small farm animals.