AAA Editor Notes
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is at 1000 Fifth Ave. (at 82nd St.). One of the world's great art museums, it has a vast permanent collection of paintings and objects—everything from 12th-century illustrated manuscripts and medieval suits of armor to Impressionist masterpieces and contemporary photography. There are noteworthy collections of Egyptian, Greek and Roman art; European and American paintings and sculpture; Asian and ancient Near Eastern art; Medieval art; modern and contemporary art; and art from Africa, Oceania and the Americas.
It's impossible to see everything the Met has to offer in one visit, or even several. If you're a first-time visitor, do a little advance research to help you zero in on specific areas of interest. Negotiating the enormous building and its two floors of mazelike galleries and rooms is also a challenge, particularly if you're unfamiliar with the layout. Docents are always on hand to answer questions or provide directions; also pick up a copy of the Museum Map brochure, which will come in handy as you navigate your way around.
Highlights in the galleries devoted to European paintings from 1250 to 1800 include Anthony Van Dyck's regal works of portraiture, Dutch still lifes and noteworthy paintings by Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens and Titian, among others. In The American Wing, don't miss Emanuel Leutze's “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” a depiction of George Washington's attack on the Hessians at Trenton on Dec. 25, 1776. Another monumental painting is Albert Bierstadt's “The Rocky Mountains, Lander's Peak”; Bierstadt specialized in stirring American West landscapes created during the era of 19th-century westward expansion.
Kids will love the suits of armor and primitive weapons on display in the Arms and Armor galleries. They'll also be entranced by the Temple of Dendur, an Egyptian temple filled with decorative carvings. The museum's collection of musical instruments includes violins, harps, harpsichords, banjos and such oddities as a claviorganum, a combination of a harpsichord and an organ.
Notable temporary exhibitions are presented regularly. The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, open from the beginning of May through late fall, offers panoramic views of Central Park and the New York skyline. Each spring features a new installation by a contemporary artist. Dining facilities include a cafeteria, two cafes and the Roof Garden Café and Martini Bar, which offers cocktails in an outdoor setting overlooking Manhattan.
Note: Still photography for private use is permitted in galleries devoted to the permanent collection; the use of flash photography and video cameras is prohibited. Water in plastic bottles can be brought into the museum, but food and other beverages are prohibited. Pencils may be used in the galleries; pens and markers are prohibited. All backpacks and packages must be checked in at the coat check facilities. Strollers are permitted in the galleries unless otherwise noted.
Guided tours are available. Food is available. Time: Allow 3 hours minimum.