Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer Fridays/Weekends 2011 - Me(e)ting Michelle

It doesn't seem possible that it has been two years since last I saw my friend Michelle, on one of her many whirlwind visits to New York and the area. Alas, it is too far to travel to Miami, plus, in the last two years, she's actually been busier than me. Thankfully, she always is gracious enough to find some time to squeeze me - and a trip to a museum - into her schedule.

Last time Michelle was in town, we explored the Guggenheim. This year, we met up on a rainy Thursday to explore the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The one problem with meeting up at the Met on a rainy Thursday? Guess where the other tourists go when it rains, nay, POURS? The Met. Also drawing in the crowds? A Guitar Heroes exhibition and the Juggernaut of the Alexander McQueen retrospective. Honestly, I am not a fashionista, so I was happy to hear that Michelle didn't want to hang out in the half hour line just to get to the front of the line to get into the McQueen thing.

Once we had individually navigated the subways and ascended the steps into the Met, we met up at the Info Desk and then headed over to a Cafe for lunch and some catching up.

Honestly, it's not about the cuisine when you're eating at a museum. Don't get me wrong, the quality and flavors have improved tremendously (as have the prices). It's about the company, and this view:

The Met is a bit like a Vegas casino. You have a map. You think you know how to get where you are going, and yet ... somehow that one exhibition space you are trying to get to is behind, around, and through all these other spaces that suck you in and won't let you out. On top of that, there are places to lose your money--all in the name of art and commerce.

Our destination right after lunch was the special exhibition of guitars, by the master artisans referred to on the Guitar Heroes banner out front. Mandolins, guitars, lutes, violins, and other stringed instruments were offset by videos, photographs, tools of the trade, and photos of famous musicians and collectors with their favorite pieces.

Here are some illicit photos from the exhibit (special exhibitions have photography restrictions - I'm a lawbreaker yo!), including some shots of how D'Angelico based his designs on the famous Big Apple landmark, the New Yorker Hotel. (Little did I know I would be staring up at that hotel less than a week later! That blog post is coming).

Not surprisingly, one of my favorites was this suite of blue guitars.

The Met is also like Manhattan - you have to prioritize the area that you want to tackle. Since I'm in town all the time, I deferred to Michelle to see what else she wanted to see, besides the gift shops. Michelle particularly wanted to see the work of Degas, so upstairs we headed.

We thought we were headed to European paintings, but some how took a detour into another special exhibition space, one of a retrospective of an Abstract artist. It was so abstract, I fear we dissolved into some very inappropriate behavior.

Before we got kicked out, we left and headed over to European paintings and found the Degas paintings and sculptures. The tiny dancer was as popular as ever, so we ducked into other rooms to study Degas' sculpture studies.

Like I said, the tiny dancer was popular. This art student was seriously grooving out to his tunes while he sketched her.

While we were in one of the other rooms, we heard a bit of a disturbance back near the ballerina paintings. I came around a corner to see one very excellent Met curator patiently working with a group of highly cultivated arts patrons, who just happened to be tiny themselves. Check out the nannies reactions. Check out the affectionate kids.

Check out art dude's work. Pretty good.

Sadly, our afternoon was curtailed due to the Met's "early" closing and Michelle's other social engagements back in Brooklyn. Before we had to part ways, we spent quality time in the gift shop, scouting our future real estate holdings near the Museum, and then shopping for wedding presents. Along our route back to a subway, we happened across barricades and media - in the area for one of the President's many fund-raising excursions to the City.

Speaking of real estate: I have decided I want this little mansion across the street from the Met. The bay window would be my room.

If that doesn't work out, this modest little house would be fine too. I like the vintage touches of this retrofitted gas light.

Miss you already Michelle. Come back soon. We have lots of the Met still to cover. I promised to take you to the Frank Lloyd Wright Room.

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