Reveling in Near Eastern Art at the Met
Dec 4, 2014
|Well, once more I have found myself in the Big Apple. My flights went smoothly yesterday but arrived in Newark, N.J. a little after 4 p.m. and, even though I had reserved a shuttle for 5 p.m. I didn't actually get a shuttle until 6:30 p.m. and it had seven other people on board wanting to be dropped off at JFK and LaGuardia. Brooklyn, where I reserved my hotel, was last on the list. So, I didn't finally get to my hotel until almost 9 p.m. Note to self: Don't ever book a flight to Newark again if you want to go sightseeing in New York!
I was really exhausted and hadn't had anything to eat all day except small raw carrots and broccoli florets I had brought on the plane along with a few cheese crackers with peanut butter. Fortunately, the front desk gave me brochures for restaurants that delivered. I had problems with the phone but the extremely helpful people at the front desk finally succeeded in ordering me chicken cutlets, mashed potatoes and gravy, seasoned spinach, a cup of cream of broccoli soup and a delicious homemade French cruller donut. It arrived piping hot in just a few minutes and I was saved from imminent starvation!
Woke up this morning and went downstairs and enjoyed freshly prepared scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, cinnamon rolls and raspberry yogurt to fortify myself for the day ahead.
I had looked up the subway connections I needed to get to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Google but I showed them to the front desk clerk and they said there was an easier way. A few quick notes and I headed out to the subway station that was just out the door.
Once again, as I remembered from my 2007 trip, New Yorkers were friendly and helpful. My eyes were watering from the cold air and several people on the subway asked me if I was OK. Once more younger people got up and gave me their seat which was really helpful as my knee is still rather precarious.
I arrived at the museum just after it opened and was able to catch the morning sun sparkling off of the new fountain at the main entrance. I checked my coat then immediately went to the second floor where the special exhibit Assyria to Iberia was displayed. I could not take photographs (usually you can't in special traveling exhibits) but enjoyed it immensely. I even got to see some of the artifacts I had seen years ago at the British Museum so it was like visiting old friends for part of it. There were also items from museums in Crete, Rhodes, Greece and Israel that I may never get a chance to visit in person.
Then, I headed for the Near Eastern galleries and spent the rest of the day there. I spent over two hours in the extensive Cypriot collection then moved on to the ancient Mesopotamian collections and Assyrian collection.
I didn't even stop for lunch until almost 3 o'clock and by then my hands were shaking so much the cafeteria cashier had to help me with my tray. I think I was just too tired to find anything I felt like eating. When that happens, I should just go for a burger but the price of $12.95 was a bit hard to swallow! I finally settled for some rice prima vera and green beans accompanied by fish broiled in tomato sauce (I think I'll skip the fish next time!) I met a nice lady sitting at the next table and chatted while I ate. Then downed the rest of my Coke and headed back upstairs. I did stop and admire the big Christmas tree the museum had placed in the center of the medieval art and even snapped a few medieval and Byzantine pieces before I went back upstairs.
I finished up the Near Eastern galleries and finished the day photographing the spectacular Mughal jeweled turbans, pins, necklaces, bracelets, daggers and swords in the Indian galleries.
I managed to retrace my steps and get on the right trains to return to my hotel so I guess you won't have to sing about me "riding the rails neath the streets of New York, I'm not the tourist that never returned!" Maybe you guys don't remember that song but I'm sure my sister Jane does as we would sing it when we were in London and taking "The tube" around town there.
There's a little Turkish diner across the street from my hotel so I popped in there and ordered falavel, hummus and salad that was served with homemade Turkish bread still warm from the oven for dinner.
Tomorrow, I'm off to the Brooklyn Museum to photograph their extensive Egyptian collection. If there's time, I'll also try to get some shots of their African collection although Margaret should be here around 3 p.m. so I won't have quite a full day there.