Meet the Met
Though I’d been to New York three times before I’d never yet made it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I knew I was missing out but the place is so big and daunting, I just didn’t know where to start.
I’d been to the Guggenheim and looked on in much confusion at the modern art. I just didn’t get most of it but the building itself was really cool. How much fun would it be to ride down that spiral floor on a plasma car or something?
I’d been to the American Museum of Natural History. Loved it but it took All Day and I still didn’t see everything. They have some amazing things, including a real T-Rex skeleton, but my feet still hurt just thinking about my day spent there.
I’d even been to the New York City Fire Museum. More interesting than it sounds and small enough to be manageable in about an hour.
When I went back to New York this past summer to catch some baseball, I knew I had to check out the Met. It was time. I mean, they have Van Gogh paintings. Van Gogh. I love him. The first time I ever found myself mere feet from his original work my eyes leaked a little. His paintings move me. I’ve now managed to see his work in DC, Chicago, and Paris. So, to the Met I went.
Thankfully, Walks of New York stepped in to help me navigate the massive collection, explain what I was looking at, and keep me on track. They offer a two hour express tour if you’re crunched for time and also a three hour extended tour if you want to dive a little deeper, which is what I chose.
I met my guide in the lobby and, after a brief introduction, we skipped the entry line and dove right into the Ancient World. Walks of New York have developed an efficient route through the huge museum – it’s over two million square feet – that roughly follows a journey through history. I loved having someone explain the backstory of each piece we stopped to look at. My guide was friendly, easy to talk to, and very knowledgeable.
You don’t have to worry about feeling like cattle on a Walks of New York Met tour either – they limit it to 15 people so you get that personal attention.
Did you know that there’s an entire Egyptian temple in the museum and that it was a gift to the US and Jacqueline Kennedy? It was installed in the Sackler Wing with a large glass wall and ceiling, where it’s said that she could look down on it from her Upper East Side apartment.
How about an entire bedroom from Pompeii? Yep, they have that. Or a whole wing of Asmat art that Michael Rockefeller sent home from Guinea before he mysteriously disappeared? Yep, that too. Suits of armour, paintings, statues, even fashion? Yep, yep, yep, and yep. There is so much to see that without a guide it would’ve been so easy to get lost.
Since it was summer we took a little break about halfway through and enjoyed the rooftop terrace. I love a rooftop terrace. It’s licensed so you can get yourself a drink while you enjoy the views south over Central Park and Manhattan. The terrace is open May until October so if you’ve visiting then, you have that to look forward to.
My favourite part, of course, were the Van Gogh paintings. I could spend hours looking at his work. I love that my guide didn’t rush me through this section and let me wander from painting to painting, lost in my own world.
What I also loved is that my ticket was good for the whole day so I was able to spend more time on my own after the tour and either continue exploring or go back and re-visit some of my favourites. There was a special Van Gogh collection being shown so you know I made a beeline back.
So if you’re headed to New York and want to check out the Met Museum but are worried about it eating up an entire one of your precious days, take my advice and book a tour. Your feet and head will thank you.
Have you been to the Met? What was your favourite piece?
Note: I was a guest of Walks of New York but all opinions are my own. They didn’t ask that I write a favourable review or take multiple Van Gogh selfies. ;)
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October 27th, 2015 at 8:44 am (#)
I have been to all of the important museums in Europe (and some not so important, aka tourist traps’), but the Met is still on my list for my future trip to the other side of the ocean. Lovely read. I am looking forward to the day when I will also viswit the Met.