The museums alone make New York one of the world’s great cultural capitals. At last count, there were almost 50. Visiting just a few of them could easily fill up your entire visit. Here’s a brief description of the major ones, in order of importance.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street. Open from 10 a. m. to 4.45 p. m. on weekdays, until 8.45 p. m. on Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 4.45 p.m. on Sundays and holidays, closed Mondays. There’s no fixed entrance charge, but you must make a donation.
A world in itself, the Met has nearly 250 rooms, over 4,500 paintings and drawings, one million prints. 4.000 objects from the Middle Ages and so on. You have a simple choice: either you confine your visit to the rooms that particularly interest you or you stay forever.
In the basement is the Junior Museum, a well-planned introduction to art for children; a shop selling posters of special exhibitions and reproductions; and the Costume Institute, with one of the largest collections in the world. It puts on a special exhibit every year.
As you enter the lobby on the main floor, you will doubtless admire the wonderful arrangements of fresh flowers the legacy of a rich American who left her money to the museum specifically for this purpose.
On the left are the Greek and Roman rooms, to the right, Egyptian art, featuring a tomb you can walk into. Straight ahead behind the stairway you’ll find the marvellous medieval collection. Don’t miss it if you’re there at Christmas time when they set up a gigantic tree decorated with medieval wooden figurines. Along the sides are a Renaissance patio, the decorative arts and European furniture rooms, and the armory. Then at the west end you’ll come to a newly built annex which houses the fabulous Lehman Collection, displayed in an exact replica of the rooms where the donor had enjoyed these works of art. You will see medieval pieces and magnificent Italian primitives alongside an excellent group of Impressionist paintings.
Thirty-five rooms on the second floor are devoted to European painting from the 15th to fee 20th centuries. This entire book would not be sufficient to describe all the paintings. The wealth of the collection is simply beyond imagination. Rembrandt, Rubens, Giotto, Veronese, Bosch.