One of our favorite things was a tour through the Met with a group called Museum Hackers. Ian learned about them from a PBS program and booked a tour for us. They are private contractors with the Met's blessing and give small two-hour tours that focus on highlights of their choosing. The Met is the largest museum in the world and I ordinarily don't even go because it's overwhelming so I welcomed this.
We began the tour in Egypt where we were introduced to the Met's mascot, a blue hippo named William whom we learned all about. There were a dozen of us on this tour and they did a great job of quickly making us comfortable with each other. Our two guides, Michelle and Lia, like so many millennials in the city, are supporting themselves while chasing artistic goals like acting or performance art.
We stopped in the Hatshepsut room where we learned about the gender-bending female Pharaoh who also strapped on the ceremonial beard. Her right hand man Senenmut, possibly her love and maybe father of her child, had a burial chamber constructed right below hers. Who knew?!! There was a contest. We were challenged to pick something in the Met that we thought would be perfect to party with and then defend ourselves in ten seconds at the end of the tour. I decided I was going with the cross-dressing queen.
We had to keep it secret until the final reveal so I had no idea that Ian had also chosen Hatshepsut, this particular version, but for different reasons.
We concluded the tour in a central hall of statues and busts where they asked us to select one to have our Polaroid taken with. Ian mimiced our bust and silly Dougie and me were all smiley. Ian won the contest, we all got a laugh that we had chosen the same thing out of all the objects on display, and he was awarded an eraser of William. We've decided to put a screw eye in the top and hang it on our tree at Christmas.
The art in the subways is unbelievable so I kept taking photos and texting them to Matt. This is from a mosaic mural in Times Square that is at least 16' across. I took a photo of the entire mural and then took three shots so I could show him detail. There are performing artists everywhere, especially at this station since it's the biggest transfer point. A mime was working behind me and mimicked everything I was doing to the delight of the audience. Glad I could help :)
Every time we had walked by this, I'd think - you know, that really looks like a Liechtenstein. Finally I said something to Ian and we stopped to look more closely.
And sure enough, it was - hidden in the subway for public eyes, not locked away in a museum. I wasn't able to find a book on the subject, but I did find this website: www.nycsubway.org/perl/artwork If you have a few minutes, it's worth taking a look at.
I was really taken with this woman's purse at one of the stops and took a couple pictures - wish I had taken more. I think it must be from a very small pair of jeans because it has both pockets. I'm going to look at a thrift store for a small pair and see if I can make one for me.
We ate lunch in Harlem at the Red Rooster, the flagship restaurant of Marcus Samuelsson, Top Chef Master. It's was Dougie's last day and that was on his "must do" list. He had eaten there before and I had read the Sanuelsson's memoir, Yes Chef, so was just as eager. The food is fantastic and unique - fabulous. We had gotten off at the 125th Street stop and over lunch decided we wanted to see Washington Square, so we hopped back on (an express train this time) and zipped down to the 12th Street stop - 6 1/2 miles, nothing to it. I couldn't resist this dog walker. Nine dogs! A friend asked me how he picked up the poop. I don't know the answer.
I especially love this park because it's right by NYU and fulled of animated students. We saw one student with her choreography book on a bench, roughing out the moves. And as you can see, there's a huckster in this photo, doing something like three-card monty. One thing for sure is there is never a dull moment.
This kiddie park is on the west edge which I thought would be the perfect pick-up place for single parents. It made me think of Tom Perrotta's book, Little Children.
We were in Manhattan two weeks and didn't waste a minute of it. This was our final sunset and I had planned to take a parting shot the next morning but we had a brutal awakening. The hurricane-like weather in the North Carolina area was causing cancelled flights, and ours coming from DC, was one of them. They moved us to one leaving 45 minutes earlier. We scrambled. Ian had packed the night before, but I was planning to pack as I went, after my shower. I had just showered when he told me we had 15 minutes. I didn't pack. I threw things in my bags. Ian said he was sure I had broken the packing record. Gabi, the wonderful head concierge got us a town car and the driver got us across town in peak traffic, just in time. After fourteen wonderfully perfect days, a fantastic birthday celebration, one concert, three musicals - I can't complain.