Sunday, February 13, 2011

Museum Hopping

Milk and myself were colleagues in a department where everyone loved food and would travel to the ends of the city to seek and eat highly recommended good food. So it isn't that surprising that we adopted a similar mentality by researching on a nightly basis, which highly recommended cafes, bistros or restaurants we would visit in NYC for our breakfast, lunch and dinner. However we did not have the luxury of travelling to the edge of the city just to eat a good meal, so we sourced for places near our hostel or near our daily destinations.

Our first breakfast wasn't anything fantastic, since we had no time to research, but 2nd day's breakfast was nice. It's a quaint, old fashioned cafe called Ess-a-Bagel.

We had bagels, of course. I think it was salmon cream cheese flavoured. Yum!

Here's how the interior looks - pretty cozy

I feel for this beagle, he/she was chained outside the cafe while his/her owner had bagels!

Ess-a-bagel is located at 831 3rd Ave (between 50th St & 51st St). Recommended for breakfast, better if you're there early, because as word goes, it gets really crowded during lunch. We tried bagels at other breakfast cafes, and none came close to this cafe's standard. Really! By the way, did I mention that Milk and I were relatively medium portion eaters (back home), but here in NYC, most meals we ordered had to be shared?

After a satisfying breakfast, we walked to the streets near Times Square to hop on the City sights bus, this time, to uptown.

Saw this (ubiquitous) St Patrick's Cathedral along the way. There must be one in every city, is there?

Had a quick peek inside. A mass was in session.
From this point onwards, my camera batteries went dead (and silly me couldn't find my extra batteries), so the following pictures are Milk's, unless otherwise stated.
The Broadway ticketing booth at Times Square
I really liked the convenience of the City Sights bus, since it stops by our planned destination - the American Museum of Natural History, made famous by the movie, 'Night at the Museum'. Another great plus is that with our city sights pass,  the entrance to the museum is free!
Even if you may not be much of a museum person, I do recommend that you'd at least visit this one, because there is so much to see, it's very difficult to get bored. Say, if you don't like reading those exhibit captions, then don't. Just use your eyes and feet to explore and be visually enraptured.
Milk did an excellent job capturing this blue whale model in its entirety in the Hall of Ocean Life

Models of Homosapiens in the Hall of Human Biology and Evolution

Beautiful geological specimens in the Hall of Minerals and Gems

Jade and/or Jadeite
Don't miss the Fossil Halls, where you can see the Tyrannosaurus rex (I can imagine that T-rex in the 'Night at the Museum' movie playing catch in the halls), Triceratops, Stegoauraus, primitive mammals and many more. 


Introducing Milk, my wonderful travel companion ;)

The Hall of North American Mammals had impressive, realistically rendered dioramas that took more than a decade to create. It's a clear indication of art and science melding together, and I am very impressed.


It's not surprising how quickly time flies when there's so much to see, and so we easily spent a good half of the day at the museum, and that's only covering some of the must-see halls. After lunch at the museum cafe (nothing much to shout about), we decided to walk to our next museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art ('MET'), taking a short cut through Central Park. I shall post about Central park next time - for now, let's check out MET. Entrance to MET was free with our city sights pass as well.

  Itching to take pictures, I took this using my iphone. I think this looks quite decent

Another one taken using my iphone

I noticed many art students in this area, attempting to sketch their favourite sculptures

A very pretty stained glass window that I don't remember seeing - nicely taken, Milk!

Although not as massive as the Louvre, the Met houses quite a significant number of notable art works, e.g., paintings by Van Gogh, Monet, Botticelli, Picasso, Jackson Pollock, to name a few.

Van Gogh's Cypresses

 Van Gogh's Irises

Van Gogh's Wheat Field with Cypresses

I like this artist's style. His name is Paul Signac. Apparently it's called Neo-impressionism, and is largely inspired by Monet. This artwork is called  'The Jetty at Cassis'.

Paul Signac's Lighthouse at Groix

Monet's Bouquet of Sunflowers

Obviously we did not manage to cover all the galleries. Planning goes a long way in ensuring that you get to see most of your favourite exhibits in the most efficient way. If you don't have enough time, I think you can give  the MET a miss, because that's what I'd have done, and gone for the Museum of Modern Art (Moma) instead. However, if you haven't been to Uffizi or Louvre perhaps the MET might be a good place to get a little dose of non-modern art.

Visit the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH)'s website here and MET's website here, to help you with your planning. Also, if you own an iphone, it's useful to download the iphone app for AMNH before you leave for NYC, which has maps of each floor and shows you directions to and fro exhibits. Most likely this app will require 3G network, so I'd suggest you use this app using wi-fi to plan your route first and not in the museum, otherwise the overseas data charges will be alarming.

This post is pretty hefty, do take your time to digest!

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