To begin this rather emotional (for me, of course) celebration of five years of living in eternal New York City, I thought it made most sense to start at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I love the Met – there is honestly no place like it (except for some parts of it remind me of the Palace of Versailles?). Someone in the art world recently described the front entrance of the museum as though there should be trumpets playing upon arrival (note: she does NOT work at the Met). I thought that was hilarious, and true. But you have to admit, those steps are really something…they sort of have that same romantic quality to them as the fountain at Columbus Circle, the arch at Washington Square Park, or the patches of grass along the Hudson. These are the places where people come together: where friends meet up and smile and hug after a long workday, where couples share intimate moments together, where tourist families pause for a moment to rest from all their sight-seeing, where artists go to draw in their notebooks and writers go to write in their journals and thinkers go to sit and think. Nix the ever-present aroma of salty pretzels and greasy hotdogs and you got yourself a pretty freaking romantic scene, amiright?!??!
Aside from the fact that the Met attracts millions of visitors every year and offers its unique collections and exhibitions to the masses, it also happens to be a HUGE maze of a building, one that takes years of getting lost and having to find your way back out to really navigate it successfully. I am nerdishly elated and blissfully happy to report (queue the trumpets, please): I NO LONGER GET LOST IN THE MET!!! Guys…this is seriously exciting news! I know it’s cheesy, but I see it as the fruit of all my efforts to actually learn how to navigate my way around it over these last five years. And it has finally paid off!
I successfully led myself and my friend from the Van Gogh show (which was wonderful, by the way, but I need MORE! MORE VAN GOGH!!!) to the Sultans of Deccan India (also wonderful, so incredibly beautiful, I bought so many postcards to frame because I can’t afford the real prints), to Navigating the West (worth it if you have taken a drawing class or if you just like Tom Sawyer-inspired art), to the Roof Garden, and stopping by the Japanese Art before we left. ALL WITHOUT GETTING LOST!!! I’m using capital letters here because I am really VERY EXCITED about this MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT. I can’t tell you how good it felt to know my way around…I felt like the cool kid on the block (admitting this may likely negate the “coolness” of it all but I literally do not give one shit about being “cool,” so, whatever).
That Roof Garden though…I have to admit in all my years of living here I had never made it up there before. Either it was too cold, or it was closed for installation, for one reason or another I had yet to experience the wonderful, special place that it is. If you’re familiar with the museum’s layout, you know that it’s actually located inside of Central Park; so when you’re on the rooftop, you’re actually looking into the park itself and out onto the Manhattan skyline. There are many different vantage points from which the city looks its best: your friend’s rooftop in Williamsburg, the bus crossing the George Washington bridge, or even just looking up from wherever you happen to be walking along the ground. And while each of these vantage points offer their own special perspective, the rooftop garden at the Met really does take the cake. I mean, clearly we’ve established that I’m a romantic, so to me, all of these perspectives offer something deeply extraordinary each in their own way. But…standing on that rooftop makes you feel like you are simultaneously on top of the world and at the center of the universe, and yet, acutely aware of how you are so insignificantly just one in the eight million people that live in this crazy amazing city. It’s loaded, it’s lovely, and it’s one-of-a-kind.
It’s feelings like this that have kept me here for these past few years, and continue to keep me here…