Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Big Apple 5

Our penultimate day in New York City has been a cooler, greyer one. Despite the drizzle, we strolled through Central Park to the Metropolitan Museum of Art - a huge, grand, elegant beast of a museum that is by far the best we've ever been to. London's British Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum boast a terrific and vast collection but they are collections housed in cramped and badly lit surroundings.

The Met, on the other hand, dazzled because everything was exquisitely spaced and lit. Two million square feet of European, African, Oceanic, Islamic, Asian and American art and artifacts are displayed here - including entire rooms given over to reconstructed Eygptian and Buddhist temples and American houses.

Paintings, sculptures, statues, pottery and prints fill every room and it would take several more all-day visits to appreciate everything this spectacular museum has to offer. The roof top courtyard had dramatic views overlooking the city and Central Park.

For lunch, we filled our basket at posh deli Dean & Delucca and picnicked in Central Park on meatloaf, sweet yellow beet salad and mashed potatoes (me) and chilli chicken with greens and garlic (M). I'm always blown away by the abundance of food on display in American supermarkets and delis - from South Dakota through Santa Fe to New York City. A nation of plenty indeed!

As the rain poured down, we took refuge in Barnes & Noble book store and Saks department store on 5th Avenue and then came back to the hotel, where we dined on roasted cod (M) and parmesan and mushroom risotto with garlic chips and pea shoots (me) followed by a luxurious fig cheesecake in our hotel's chic restaurant Thor.

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