Day Two Hundred and Eight: Private Members Museum nights at the Met and the Museum of the City of New York and American Museum of Natural History November 29th, December 2nd and 12th, 2021

I put my walk of the Garment District on hold as many of the museums are having their Private Members nights before the holidays get into the full swing. It gives the members a chance to really enjoy the museums before the City gets crazy with tourists and people are beginning to return to the City.

Metropolitan Museum of Art at 1000 Fifth Avenue

https://www.metmuseum.org/

My first event that I attended was “The Met After Hours” event. It was a well-attended event that members were able to explore the first floor at their own leisure for three hours.

The Invitation to the Met

https://www.metmuseum.org/

It really was a wonderful night. First it was a warm and clear evening and you could see the stars because it gets dark at 5:00pm. We as members got to the museum before 5:00pm and waited in a long line by the Member’s Entrance on the side of the museum and had to show our COVID vaccine cards and ID. Even though we were all vaccinated, we still had to wear masks the entire time we were in the museum. It was not a problem and did not get in the way of us having a nice time.

For the evening, only the first floor was open and only certain galleries and exhibitions but there was plenty to see and do. In all the galleries, there were docents giving talks on the exhibitions and on the gallery displays that were permanent to the museum.

I started my tour of the museum at the Christmas Tree in the Medieval Galleries. It was decorated for the holidays with full detail but it had been corded off and you could not get as close to it as you once could in the past. They had a very interesting docent who went over the not just the history of the Christmas tree with its German-Pagan roots but how it was decorated by people in different countries at different times of history.

The beautiful Christmas tree is a part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art tradition

She talked about how the manager and the more religious aspects of the art came from Naples and then made its way to the United States with immigration. The works around the tree were collected over time.

Later that evening, they had a singing trio entertaining the crowd with festive Christmas songs. The ladies were very friendly and had wonderful voices. They really put everyone in the Christmas spirit.

I next went to the “In Praise of Painting: Dutch Masterpieces at the Met” exhibition in the Robert Lehman Collection. I was viewing all the works by Rembrandt and Vermeer for most of the evening. It was nice to just take my time and look at the works one by one without rushing like you normally do when the galleries are busy. The gallery was full of portraits and still lives and being a smaller gallery, I was not over-whelmed by the exhibition.

In Praise of Painting: Dutch Masterpieces at The Met should not be missed.

https://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2018/in-praise-of-painting-dutch-masterpieces

I walked through the American Wing to the American Wing Cafe which was mobbed. Every table was taken and what was really annoying is that in some cases, one person took a table and threw all their things on the chairs and were eating by themselves. They should have had a limit on that type of behavior as I could see that patrons were struggling to find a place to sit down. I just decided to eat when I left the museum. A $16.00 sandwich did not interest me. I just could not believe how much the food had gone up at the museum.

I spent the last part of the evening in the Temple of Dendur Wing admiring the building. I looked over all the ancient carvings and symbols and then realizing that this temple was created during the Roman Era. I thought that was interesting. I remember reading in the book “Dancing with Mummies” on the former director of the museum discussing how New York City beat out other cities to get the temple.

Every time I enter the gallery I think of this scene in “When Harry Met Sally”

It represents what is best about the Met

I ended the evening exploring the Greek Galleries since the rest of the Egyptian Galleries were closed for the evening. I really loved looking at the Cycladic Art and the way that the galleries are displayed. Even though I have been touring these galleries since they opened, it is always fun to see something new or a piece that you noticed for the first time again.

There is something unique about Cycladic Art

After I left the Met, I walked along the Upper East Side, walking down both Third and Second Avenues and noticing all the restaurants and stores that have closed since the Pandemic and it was scary to see. I thought that Madison Avenue was bad with all the empty stores and the cops protecting them but the other avenues were just as bad. It will take a long time for this to come back.

When I reached East 72nd Street at Second Avenue, I stopped at one of my favorite Chinese Take-out places where you can sit down and eat, Shanghai Chinese Restaurant at 1388 Second Avenue right near the subway station. I am telling you this is some of the best Chinese food in the City and very reasonable for the portion size they give you (see my reviews on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com).

Don’t miss Shanghai Chinese Restaurant at 1388 Second Avenue

I had the most amazing Shrimp Szechuan with Roast Pork Fried Rice with a side of Hot and Sour soup, the perfect dishes on a cool night. The soup really warmed me up and the shrimp had a nice fiery flavor to it.

I was so content from the wonderful meal that I ended up walking all the way back to the Port Authority. It was such a nice night to walk back and enjoy the cool air. It really a beautiful night to walk around Manhattan.

After I returned from visiting my mother for her 85th birthday, I had another Members Night at the Museum of the City of New York at 1220 Fifth Avenue to attend the gallery talk of the Founders of the Talking Heads singing group, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, talking about their time with the group and their experiences. Then we watched the film documentary “Stop Making Sense”, which was filmed over a series of concerts in 1984. The talk and the film were both amazing. I never knew that much about the group, so it was an eye-opener.

The Museum of the City of New York at 1220 Fifth Avenue

https://www.mcny.org/

Ms. Weymouth and Mr. Frantz had gotten older but really had not changed that much. They were really engaging and such interesting stories about the band and the clubs that they played in the early 1980’s. It was fascinating to hear of the other artists that they knew like Debbie Harry and the Ramones who played the same clubs and the long-closed clubs that they enjoyed like Danceatiria and the Mudd Club.

They also talked about the work they are doing now and the revival of the music that they performed so long ago. It was a real blast from the past and most of the audience like me were either in high school or college when the group was performing so it was a real Gen X crowd that evening. After the talk, they left the stage with a rousing applause from all of us and then we watched the documentary, which really rocked the room. I could almost see people wanted to get up and dance and the applause from the songs after they were finished matched what was going on in the film (I included the link to the film we watched below).

The “Stop Making Sense” talk and showing of the film with Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth

The ‘Stop Making Sense’ talk at the Museum of the City of New York: The Concert Film we saw that night.

“Stop Making Sense”

I went home that evening humming all the songs that I remembered from the film. It was such a great evening and I still could not believe that I never saw the film when it came out my freshman year of college.

Still my favorite videos from the early MTV days: “Once in a Lifetime”

The last museum Members afternoons that I attended was the “Sharks” exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History at 200 Central Park West. This exhibition was open to the members first before opening later in December.

The American Museum of Natural History at 200 Central Park West

https://www.amnh.org/

I have to say it was interesting and very scientific and technical. I was floored by the number of kids that knew so much about sharks. I was listening to this kid talk to his mother on which sharks were which and he was about eight years old.

The exhibition was on the history of sharks and their habitats and the benefits that sharks bring to the ocean like being bottom dwellers and how their eating habits affect the rest of the ocean population. It was more than the movie “Jaws”.

The exhibition also discussed how sharks have evolved over the years since the era of the dinosaurs and how their population decrease is affecting the rest of the ocean population and food cycles. After about an hour in the exhibition it got a bit over-whelming with the information and I will have to go back again to see it.

‘Sharks’ at the American Museum of Natural History

The exhibition discussion:

After the visiting other parts of the museum in both the Central American Wing and the new Minerals gallery, I went outside and enjoyed the nice sunny day. I ended up walking all over the Upper West Side. Homes were decorated for the holidays and it was festive to see all the garland and trees in the windows and on the outside of the brownstone homes.

For lunch, I went to Tri Dim West, the sister restaurant to Tri Dim Shanghai on the East side at 467 Columbus Avenue for a Dim Sum lunch. The restaurant is right around the corner from the museum and was a nice alternative to the expensive fare at the museum.

Tri Dim West at 467 Columbus Avenue

https://tridimwest.com/

I had the most wonderful (but pricy) Dim Sum lunch with freshly made Crab & Pork Soup Dumplings, Roast Pork Buns, Chicken Curry Puffs and a Peking Duck Spring Roll. Everything was made fresh to order and one dish was better than the other. The soup dumplings just slurped off the spoon and burst in my mouth with their juiciness. The roast pork buns had their usual sweetness with the combination of roast pork chopped up wrapped in a sweet dough.

The Peking Duck rolls are delicious

The service was so friendly and welcoming. The guy waiting on me kept spooning the dumplings on my plate. I thought that was taking it to the extreme but it was a quiet afternoon.

It is funny for the people who keep saying that New York City is going downhill and Manhattan is falling apart, yet I see that the museums are doing their best to engage with their members and the public in general with taking all sorts of precautions and safety measures. They are doing their best to keep the public informed while still having a good time.

Isn’t this the point of a cultural institution?

Places to Eat:

Shanghai Chinese Restaurant

1388 Second Avenue

New York, NY 10021

(212) 288-8066

https://www.allmenus.com/ny/new-york/359936-shanghai/menu/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 11:00am-10:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d3579862-Reviews-Shanghai_Chinese_Restaurant-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/706

Tri Dim West

467 Columbus Avenue

New York, NY 10024

(212) 585-1398

https://tridimwest.com/

Open: Sunday-Thursday 12:00pm-9:00pm/Friday-Saturday 12:00pm-10:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60763-d17697126-r821822794-Tri_Dim_West_Restaurant-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Places to Visit:

Metropolitan Museum of Art

1000 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10028

(212) 535-7710

https://www.metmuseum.org/

https://www.facebook.com/metmuseum/

Open: Sunday-Tuesday 10:00am-5:00pm/Wednesday Closed/Thursday 10:00am-5:00pm/Friday & Saturday 10:00am-9:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d105125-Reviews-The_Metropolitan_Museum_of_Art-New_York_City_New_York.html

Museum of the City of New York

1220 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10029

(212) 534-1672

https://www.mcny.org/

https://www.facebook.com/MuseumofCityNY/

Open: Sunday-Wednesday 10:00am-6:00pm/Thursday Closed/Friday & Saturday 10:00am-6:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d15855802-Reviews-Museum_of_the_City_of_New_York-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

American Museum of Natural History

200 Central Park West

New York, NY 10024

(212) 769-5100

https://www.amnh.org/

https://www.facebook.com/naturalhistory/

Open: Sunday 10:30am-5:00pm/Monday-Tuesday Closed/Wednesday-Saturday 10:30am-5:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d210108-Reviews-American_Museum_of_Natural_History-New_York_City_New_York.html

2 thoughts on “Day Two Hundred and Eight: Private Members Museum nights at the Met and the Museum of the City of New York and American Museum of Natural History November 29th, December 2nd and 12th, 2021

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