Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Museum Row

Today was slated as "Museum Day" and we had the best of intentions. We began by going to MOMA(Museum of Modern Art) only to find guys in black suits and ear pieces standing at the doors to remind us it was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Who knew?

Well, let's not let that stop us, so we hopped on the subway and traveled uptown to the Guggenheim on 86 St. and Fifth Ave. This is my husband Chip's favorite museum because it was designed by his architectural hero, Frank Lloyd Wright. Usually you can spot the Guggenheim blocks away because its curvacious profile sticks out onto the sidewalk. But we didn't see it until we were upon it. In fact we couldn't see it at all! It was completely covered in scaffolding! They are restoring the outside and we were disappointed.

Inside 3 out of the 6 levels were also closed and the art that is usually displayed was sparse at best. I took pictures of the inside just in case you know nothing about the Guggenheim. Its unique spiral ramps wrap around the interior where the art is showcased. The gradual climb is deceiving because your body does feel it. On the way down, gravity takes over and you have to hold yourself back from from walking too fast. The skylight above is also Wright's design. His glasswork has always been one of his most beautiful expressions of his talent and personality.

There are two places in NY that I intentionally visit as part of my own pilgrimage. Rockefeller Plaza and St. Patrick's Cathedral. My husband and boys are pictured above at Rockefeller Plaza. I have so many memories of this place from all four seasons. I've been there when the monumental Christmas tree is up and the plaza is filled with ice skaters. I've been there when the plaza is turned into an outside restaurant. I've been there for the orchid show in the spring. NBC's Today Show broadcasts from this area and it's always of interest to those of us who like pop culture.

I go to St. Patrick's Cathedral for a variety of reasons. Architecturally it is stunning! I've been coming here since I was a child, and I always feel peaceful and in awe at the same time. I've eaten many a lunch there on its steps when I worked in Manhattan. Saks Fifth Ave. is right across the street, so I guess in one day you can pray at both the altar of God and the altar of materialism. I "pray" to find a spectacular item on clearance at Saks. Feel free to laugh...since I am teasing.

However, as I had my children with me, shopping or at least window shopping was on the agenda. We went to FAO Schwartz (famous toy store), but didn't go inside. Instead we went into the adjacent Apple store that looks like a glass cube at street level. You enter and then take a glass elevator down two stories into the store... we all then lusted after the coolest technology you can see in one place.

We continued our treck along Fifth Ave. and entered Central Park once again to escape the sidewalk crowds.
We walked along the Reservoir for a bit and marveled at the skyline opposite its banks. They say you should walk 60 minutes a day to stay healthy and if you want to lose weight, increase that to about 90 minutes. Well, I've walked for about 4 hours at this point and my calves are killing me. I need to find a place to sit down!

We finally did get to a museum of some importance late in the day. The Metropolitan Museum of Art houses collections from all over the world. The boys were quite impressed and it takes a lot to impress a 15 and 17 year old who are usually only impressed with digital graphics on their video games. If you've never been to the Met, make sure you allow for about 4 hours to skim through it when you visit. I petered out at the end of only 1 hour. But I've been there before, so I didn't mind sitting some of it out.

Well, tomorrow is my birthday. Hopefully I'll have some photos from my family gathering in Staten Island. Now I just need to go soak my feet.