Summer lingered for longer than usual this year, the October air thick with heat and streets filled with people looking for something to do. It was the week before Halloween and while the Ghostbuster’s theme song became harder to escape in stores selling costumes and candy, my cousin Laura was visiting New York for the first time. She hadn’t planned what she’d like to do during her weeklong stay, but as an artist, she expressed interest in as much art as possible. On the brilliant suggestion of her friend who she was traveling with, our first stop would be The Metropolitan Museum. We agreed on getting an early start, so when my phone rang shortly after 8:00am I knew they were serious.
After purchasing tickets and walking through The Great Hall, we unfurled our maps and revealed the vast galleries and exhibitions that await us. My last visit to the Met, I entered the museum directly via the Egyptian wing, but hoping to save that experience for last, we made a sharp left and found ourselves among Greek and Roman sculpture, sunlight flooding through the windows revealing every beautiful detail crafted in stone, marble and bronze. The Met is home to such a wide range of unbelievable art, both ancient and contemporary, but after every visit I’m increasingly appreciative of the museums’ architecture and it’s ability to heighten the viewing experience. It’s a similar feeling I experienced visiting the Cloisters in Washington Heights – but that’s a story for another time. We saw the arts of Africa, Oceana and the Americas, admired Medieval Art, and gazed at the Arms and Armors wings before taking a very necessary break at the museums Petrie Café. Enjoying a seasonal lunch with a floor to ceiling view of Central Park was exactly what we needed to recharge.
Once we were finally on the correct side of the map, we took the elevator up to the fifth floor to see the Rooftop Garden Commission sculptures by Pakistani artist Huma Bhabha. Surrounded by the lush green of Central Park and huddled in by the Manhattan skyline, I absorbed the anguish of these figures representing instability and displacement. They were absolutely moving and I’m so grateful to have caught them on their final days of installation. We closed the trip at the Egyptian wing, filled with beautiful statues and gilded jewelry, and of course, The Temple of Dendur – an actual temple that Egypt gifted to America in the 1960’s. It stands beside yet another window with a spectacular view of the colorful leaves in the park.
Although we began our adventure as the museum was opening, it was now nearly 5 and there was still some we hadn’t seen. The Met has so much to learn and appreciate, moments in history that demonstrate how far humanity and creativity extend. Having been here through every season, I can confirm that there is no time more stunning than autumn to visit.
Once we were back in Queens, we capped the day with decadent banana and strawberry crème brulee and cappuccinos. And just in case we forgot the season, our desserts were topped with Halloween sprinkles.