Wednesday, October 19, 2011

NYC by Nicole: The Met and Central Park - My Highlights

This is one of my favorite itineraries because it combines two things I love more than anything in NYC - Art and Sunshine.  This is a good itinerary on a nice sunny day and for people who aren't "art" and "museum" lovers.  Yes, I know, you're going to the Met, but the Met has so many more interesting things than just traditional "art."  When people see the Egyptian Temple of Dendur and can walk up to it and touch it... it's amazing for anyone, even if they're not an "art" lover.

The Metropolitan Museum and Central Park - My Highlights

Duration:  Late Morning to late afternoon 
Cost: Affordable (you can do it for under $25, if you're thrifty)

View Met & Central Park in a larger map

Starting Point: Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 5th Ave at 82nd Street
Cost: Suggested Donation (which for you cheap asses, means almost free) $1 - 25

Temple of Dendur
When I go into the Met, I like to start out in the Egyptian wing (hang a right when you go in).  You can meander through until you reach the Temple of Dendur - great photo opportunity!

American Wing
From there go through the beautiful new American wing and Neoclassical facade of the Branch Bank of the United States, originally located on Wall Street.

Then stroll through the Renaissance and Medieval galleries that show off gorgeous stained glass, religious iconography, and a complete Spanish choir screen from the Valladolid cathedral of 1763.  Eventually you will find yourself in a skylighted room full of European sculptures (check out the brick facade here - its part of the Museum's original 1888 south facade).

Rooftop Garden Cafe
You'll also find a line of people going into an elevator to the rooftop (seasonal and weather permitting). Head up to the Rooftop Garden Cafe for lunch and see the most beautiful views of Central Park in the city. They always have an unusual art installation up there that's always worth checking out as well.

After lunch, make your way out of the Met through the Polyneasian galleries and get ready to experience the best of Central Park.

Enter Central Park through the Osborn Gate at 84th St. and follow the walking path south.  The Osborn Gate were created by renowned sculptor Paul Manship and declared the year’s most distinguished work of art in 1953.  

Cleopatra's Needle
Walk past the Cleopatra's Needle, an obelisk that was commissioned by an Egyptian Pharoh in 1500 BC.  It was moved to Central Park in 1881 and is the oldest man-made object in Central Park. 

Continue southward to the Alice and Wonderland Statue, gifted by George Delacourte in 1959 as a gift to the children of New York City.  Around there you'll find the lovely Conservatory Water where children and families rent little radio controlled boats and race them around the pond.

Rowing in Central Park Lake
Hang a right and walk up to the Loeb Boathouse.  Rent row boats on Central Park Lake (Cost: $20 cash deposit, $12 for the first hour) - this is by far my favorite activity to do in New York City!  You get a different and beautiful perspective of Central Park, plus it's hysterical... because no one knows how to row or steer a boat.  It's great fun and very memorable.  If you're in need of a break, there is an outdoor bar and restaurant here too.  This is a great place to sit and have an iced tea and watch the rowers on the lake.  

Bethesda Fountain
Once you've docked hang a right out of the boathouse and follow the path along the water to the Bethesda Fountain.  The Bethesda Fountain, also known as the Angel of Waters, is one of the largest fountains in New York and one of the most well known fountains in the world.  It was commissioned by Emma Stebbins in 1868, the first woman to receive a commission for a major work of art in New York City, and dedicated in 1873.  It's one of the most stunning pieces of art in all of New York.

Walk up the stairs under the bridge from the Bethesda Terrace and stroll down the Central Park Mall.  

A little before the Mall hits 66th Street, veer to the left and stop by to see the famous Balto statue. Balto was a famous sled dog that lead 20 sled teams from Anchorage, Alaska, to Nome in January of 1925.  They brought medical relief to the children that were in danger of suffering from a deadly diphtheria epidemic.  

You can exit the park at 66th Street and go on about the rest of your day.  I hope you enjoyed one of my favorite days in New York City!

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