Christmas in NYC: Part 1

Back in November, we had a lovely brief trip to NYC. We spent about two days there enjoying NYC in Christmas time and its many cultural offerings. In the next few posts, I’ll talk about our adventures.

NYC is wonderful during Christmas time. There’s so many over the top Christmas decorations on Fifth Avenue and there’s even a Christmas market at Union Square. So our first stop when we arrived (after throwing down our bags) was a trip to the Christmas market in Union Square. It’s a fun market with lots of artisanal wares. My favorite dessert place Momofuku had a booth there and I ended up buying a dozen birthday cake truffles, which we consumed half of by the end of the two days. (Shame on us! Mmm…so tasty).

For lunch, we found a gourmet crepe place. Why was it gourmet? It used brie and goat’s cheese and other fancy ingredients in their crepes. In my experience, such crepe places can be very hit or miss; nothing is as good as a simple Nutella crepe from a hole in the wall in Paris. But this place in Union Square was rather tasty. I had brie with ham and some leafy greens, which was a tasty combination.

Then it was time for our visit to the Metropolitan Museum. It’s up there with the British Museums for all times favorites. It’s a bit overwhelming. I’ve definitely spent visits there only visiting the Greek/Roman rooms and nothing else. But I love the diversity of exhibitions. We first made our trek to the Temple of Dendur, which is still one of the best displays in any museum anywhere. For those of you who have never been, Egypt gave the Met a temple (for services rendered) and it is housed in a giant room with a pond and windows out to Central Park. It is so magnificent. Also, they hold concerts there, which I am keen to go to someday.

Temple of Dendur

After that, we wandered through The Kongo: Power and Majesty exhibition. We accidentally went through it backwards. It talked about the use of power both by Congolese elites and Europeans.  The highlights of the exhibition were these 15 wooden carved statues, possibly called Mangaaka, at the end, each housed in it’s own display. But what struck me was how the placards said that parts of these sculptures were removed by the people who used them for religious worship as if to hide or remove the power of them. A stark reminder of the consequence of “collecting”in the West. That these artifacts meant something very real to their creators and worshipers while we in the museum regard them as history and art. There were also these magnificent carved elephant tusks that somehow made it into the Medici collection. Beautiful but loot. Very interesting and worthwhile exhibition.

Then it was time for my mission. I had read Strapless, a book about the scandal about a painting by John Singer Sargent where he had painted Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau) with a failing strap. Fascinating look at the world of portrait painting and high society. The painting is in the Met. So we set off to find; we passed a gallery filled with incredible musical instruments, among others. We found the painting in the American Galleries with the corrected strap. It’s a magnificent painting. Hard to imagine that it nearly destroyed Sargent’s career and the reputation of Madame Gautreau.

The painting (with the strap painted on)

How magnificent that we could wandered from Ancient Egypt to Kongo and then to 19th century France in such a short period of time!

That evening, we went to the Metropolitan Opera to see La Boheme. What a beautiful theater!It has these Chagall murals that are incredible. As for the opera, I didn’t love it. I’ve talked before about my attempts at appreciating opera. To sum it up, I love the symphony but I can’t seem to abide the opera. I keep trying; I felt that I had to see the classics including La Boheme and Carmen. The production was well done; I love how they had 100 people on stage for the crowded scenes and how it snowed in another. But sadly, the plot didn’t move me and I didn’t particularly like the songs. Not to say that the music wasn’t good, it just didn’t hold me. Alas.


That’s all for now!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s