With today being American Thanksgiving (happy Thanksgiving!), it seemed appropriate to return to our recent US travels and the second of our days in New York City.
Our second day included an ambitious list of destinations: The Cloisters, part of The Metropolitan Museum of Art but located in far north Manhattan; the High Line park in the centre of Manhattan; and the main Met museum on the Upper East Side. We managed all three, but it was definitely a full day.
The Cloisters is the medieval outpost of The Met. The buildings are formed from old French medieval monasteries, and their insides are lined with statues, paintings, stained glass windows and tapestries from medieval Europe. To be honest, if you have been to Europe, it seems a little odd to have the collection placed in upper NYC. However, the museum also has the benefit of exquisite gardens and a peaceful setting out of the central city areas.
After wandering the ancient Cloisters artwork, we journeyed to a much newer attraction: The High Line park. For those of you not familiar with this raised inner-city delight, it is a public park built on an old railway line that runs above the streets of Manhattan's west side. It opened in 1999 and is well used - as it should be.
|Looking down from The High Line.|
I think all cities could benefit from converting old railway lines into parks. If you can do it in the sky, all the better.
|High Line park.|
The High Line park is also located around the corner from Blossom, a vegan restaurant of some fame. I have to confess that the Blossom menu didn't really grab me, with its focus on haute cuisine vegetarian and prices to match. Perhaps I'd have enjoyed it for dinner; for lunch, I had an overpriced salad that was good, but not great.
Happily, our afternoon entertainment was great. I didn't think any art collections could rival Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum or Madrid's Prado, but The Met most certainly does. Plus, unlike its European counterparts, it lets you take photos.
You could spend a whole day in The Met and still not see it all. We had just a few hours. Highlights, without a doubt, were the Egyptian collection with ancient stones, carvings, models and mummies on a scale I hadn't seen before. As Mr Bite remarked, it's hard to believe there is much ancient art left in Egypt, because so much of it is showcased wonderfully here.
At the end of a busy day, we had one of our best Thai meals for the holiday. America does many things well, but I think Thai food is one area where Australia performs better. Our proximity to Thailand no doubt plays a large role! Wondee Siam V was an easy walk from our Upper West Side apartment, and they provided Mr Bite with a mildly spicy (the way he likes it) vegetarian pad Thai, and me with satay tofu and broccoli with a side of brown rice. I can still remember the joy of the satay tofu and broccoli. It was delicious.
When reflecting on these activities half way through a standard work week, it feels like a reflection on another world, where days are leisurely but extended. We were very fortunate to have the trip and I am glad we packed so much in.
Wondee Siam V Thai restaurant is located at 969 Amsterdam Ave, between W 107th and W 108th streets in Manhattan's Upper West Side.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art website has details for the main museum and The Cloisters branch. Both are open 7 days a week and the main museum is located on Fifth Avenue adjoining Central Park
The High Line Park is located in Manhattan's Meatpacking district and can be accessed every few blocks from Gansevoort Street up to W 30th street. It is open 7 days a week during daylight hours.
Do you have a favourite art museum or favourite art memories?