The excitement of the Christmas/Holiday period is now upon
us and our Manhattan museums are presenting a truly outstanding cornucopia of exhibitions.
So, unless the weather is truly frightful, button up your coat and come see
what’s around. Save the Christmas windows and the Rockefeller Center tree
for evening, when the museums are closed and the lights shine most brightly.
(And don’t forget some of the other lovely trees in town, such as, Lincoln
Center, Madison Square Park, Carl Schurz Park, Washington Square Park and
I will start this list with the biggest of Manhattan’s
museums, the METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART or, as it now likes to be called, THE
Recently expanded through the opening of the former site of the Whitney Museum,
renamed the Breuer Building, The Met
is of course, in itself,
a feast of offerings.
At the main building, now known as THE MET FIFTH AVENUE
Avenue and West 82nd
Street), there will be two blockbuster exhibitions,
plus a host of smaller ones, to tempt interested visitors. The major
Draftsman and Designer
, which runs until January 7, 2018
. This show is huge and provides a complete
overview of the great man’s work, from his boyhood studies in the workshop of
Domenico Ghirlandaio to his last great works, Saint Peter’s Basilica, the
Sistine and Pauline Chapels in the Vatican and preparations for his final
Pietas. Comprising 133 of his drawings,
mixed with sculpture, paintings and architectural renderings, a huge number of
items have been loaned by other museums, galleries and libraries, as well as by
private collections generally off-limits to the public, including the Vatican,
the Laurentian Library in Florence (whose building was designed by
Michelangelo) and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It features, among other astonishing things,
the complete copy of his lost painting of the Battle of Cascina
(part of a competition that pitted the young
Michelangelo against the older and very famous, Leonardo da Vinci), all the
drawings done for his friend, Tomaso de’ Cavalieri and now owned by the Queen,
his drawings for his friend, Vittoria Colonna, part of the cartoon for the Last Judgment
fresco in the Sistine
Chapel at the Vatican, several statues from his hand and a wooden architectural
model of part of the apse of Saint Peter’s Basilica. There
is also a one-quarter scale reproduction of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel
in the gallery that contains the relevant drawings. The reduced scale works well with the lower
height of the ceiling in providing a fairly accurate experience of seeing those
painting in situ in Rome.
For all these reasons, this exhibition is already immensely
popular and densely crowded. Therefore,
I would suggest that you make every attempt to see it either very early or very
late. The museum opens at 10 AM every
morning and the hour between 10 and 11 AM are likely to be good. Also the hours between 7 and 9 PM on Friday
and Saturday are a little less intense.
Also, don’t try to see the entire thing in one go. It is immense and you will wear yourself out,
especially if the galleries are super crowded.
Therefore, I suggest that you see as much as you can, but break off when
you become too tired and return another day.
Indeed, this is an exhibition that will greatly reward repeated visits. And, as the New York Times art reviewer
stated “It’s a one-stop event with a non-extendable three-month run, which is
the maximum exposure to light, even at dusk-level, that the drawings can safely
stand. Once the show’s done, the likelihood of there being another on its scale
within the lifetime of anyone reading these words is slim.”1
Sitting side-by-side with Michelangelo is another
blockbuster, but this time it’s a retrospective for a living artist, the
British painter David Hockney
honors his 80th
will run until February 25, 2018
“From his early experiments with modernist abstraction and mid-career
experiments with illusion and realism, to his most recent, jewel-toned
landscapes, Hockney has consistently explored the nature of perception and
representation with both intellectual rigor and sheer delight in the act of
This exhibition is also creating quite a buzz and is
almost as popular, and as crowded, as the Michelangelo. Do not expect to be able to see both in the
same day unless you have really good stamina.
Once again, I suggest that you try to visit it either very early or very
late in the day.
But, these two popular exhibitions are not the only things
the Met Fifth Avenue has up its sleeve this season. Alongside (literally) the two exhibitions
above is another, focusing on the great French sculptor, Auguste Rodin. This exhibition, Rodin at the Met
, unlike the two above, is drawn solely from the
Met’s own collection and demonstrates the depth of the museum’s holdings of
this important artist. Many of the
pieces were collected during Rodin’s lifetime, thanks to a generous gift from
Rodin’s American patron, Thomas Fortune Ryan, in 1910. The exhibition runs
through January 15, 2018
Among the other things on offer at the MET FIFTH AVENUE
Leonardo to Matisse,
Master Drawings from the Robert Lehman Collection
, which runs until January
. This is a lovely
exhibition which provides a kind of counterpoint to the drawings of
Michelangelo. Like the Rodin exhibition,
however, it is drawn from the Met’s own holdings, specifically from the Robert
Lehman Collection, which was given to the museum in 1969, on Mr. Lehman’s
death. It presents 60 drawings from
great masters of the Renaissance (Leonardo) right through art history up to the
early twentieth century (Matisse). “The
exhibition is the first to explore Robert Lehman's significant activity as a
20th-century collector by highlighting the full range of his vast and
distinguished drawings collection, which numbers more than 700 sheets.”3
The Christmas Tree
and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche
, also on view until January 7, 2018
. This annual and much-loved tradition, with
its tiny figures in fantastically detailed attire, recreate the visit of the
Magi and the shepherds to the Holy Family, while dozens of angels float above
among the tree branches. The main
figures are surrounded by scores of recreations of ordinary people and animals
going about their everyday tasks. It is
always great fun to explore the surrounding figures because, while the main
figures in the story remain the same each year, the surrounding figures change
position and come and go as different aspects of life in an 18th
Italian city are shown. This has been a
Met tradition, dating back to 1964 when the figures were gifted to the museum
by Loretta Hines Howard, whose family still participate in the maintenance and
set up of the crèche each year.
Also on view until January 7
is World War I and the Visual Arts
. This interesting show demonstrates the
response of artists to the horrific shock of the First World War. Every aspect of the war is covered, from
recruiting posters, photographs, drawings, engravings, etchings, to
lithographs. Most come from within the
war years (1914-1918), with a few post-war works. And, from this perspective it is interesting
to note how the response changed over these years, from an initial outburst of
patriotism and/or rage, to recording the actual experience of the war, to reflecting
bitterly on its costs and on the hope for peace.
For enthusiasts of American Western art there is an
exhibition of the works of Frederic
Remington in the mezzanine level of the American Wing, which closes January
2, 2018. It includes numerous examples
of the bronze sculptures for which Remington is best known, but also includes
many of his graphic works as well. Like
the Rodin exhibition, this show is drawn from within the Met’s own voluminous
On a different note, an exhibition in the Japanese
galleries has drawn a great deal of attention.
This “loan exhibition showcases more than 80 bamboo baskets and
sculptures created by accomplished artists, including all six masters who have
received the designation "Living National Treasure." Highlighting key
stages in the modern history of Japanese Bamboo Art, the exhibition is drawn
from the Abbey Collection, one of the finest private collections of Japanese
baskets and bamboo sculpture; most of the works have never before been presented
in public.”4 The majority of these objects, those from the Abbey
Collection, will find their permanent home at the Met as the owners, Diane and
Arthur Abbey, are giving them to the museum. This exhibition will be on view until February 4, 2018.
Finally, a just-opened exhibition, is The Silver Caesars: A Renaissance Mystery,
which will be on display until March 11, 2018
. The exhibition focuses on a series of twelve elaborately ornamented cups, known as tazze
, created during the 16th Century. Known as the Aldobrandini Tazze, the twelve formed a series with one cup decorated with scenes from the lives of each of the first twelve Caesars, as told by Suetonius. Broken up during the subsequent centuries they are united for the first time in almost 200 years. They are considered to be among the finest works of Renaissance goldsmith work.
THE MET BREUER
(Madison Avenue and East 75th
is also hosting two important exhibitions during this season:
Delirious, Art at the
Limits of Reason, 1950-1980
, which runs till January 14, 2018
explores the often unsettling art of the period in which I grew up. This was a period of disquiet (as when is
not?) which was reflected in works of art that challenged all the prior rules,
including those that were by then established for even the abstract. “Linked by a common distrust of reason, the
featured works alternately simulate and stimulate delirium, straining the limits
of both legibility and intelligibility. Ultimately, the exhibition asks if it
is possible to understand a good deal of postwar art, even seemingly rational
art, as an exercise in calculated lunacy.”5
Edvard Munch, Between
the Clock and the Bed
, which runs until February 4, 2018 expands greatly
our collective, popular impression of Munch’s work, taking us well beyond The Scream
. The 43 works on display give us a Munch of
color and of land- and city-scapes and, yes, of anxiety and depression. These are “compositions created over a span
of six decades, including 16 self-portraits and works that have never before
been seen in the United States. More than half of the works on view were part
of Munch's personal collection and remained with him throughout his life.”6
The Metropolitan Museum’s third arm, the MET
(in Fort Tryon Park at the top of Manhattan Island), is a museum
specializing in the art of the Middle Ages.
This season it is not offering any special exhibitions, but is a magical
place to visit during Christmas time, when the galleries are hung with
elaborate garlands straight out of a fifteenth-century painting. While there are no special exhibitions there
are some special Christmas concerts, some already completed, but one about to
happen. “An Eton Choirbook Christmas”
will have two performances on December 16th
, at 1 PM and at 3 PM in
century Spanish Fuentidueña Chapel, which has wonderful
acoustics. Tickets are $65.00 each and
can be purchased here, Buy
Beyond THE MET
the other museums of New York also have many things to offer.
The FRICK COLLECTION
(Fifth Avenue at East
Street) gives us two splendid gifts for Christmas this
The first is Murillo: The Self-Portraits
, which runs until February
. In celebration of the 400th
anniversary of Murillo’s birth this exhibition originally united two
self-portraits, made approximately 20 years apart, which are owned by the Frick
and the National Gallery in London. “To
provide context to these canvases, the exhibition also features a group of
fifteen other works on loan from international private and public collections.
These will include paintings of other sitters by Murillo, as well as later
reproductions of the two paintings that reflect their fame in Europe.” Recently, a third, newly rediscovered
self-portrait was added to the show. 7
The second is Veronese
in Murano: Two Venetian Renaissance Masterpieces Restored
. This exhibition focuses on two recently
conserved and rarely seen paintings by the celebrated artist Paolo Veronese
(1528–1588), St. Jerome in the Wilderness and St. Agatha Visited in Prison by
St. Peter. “While the paintings are known to scholars, their remote location in
a church in Murano, an island in the lagoon of Venice, has made them difficult
to study. ….The exhibition provides a unique opportunity for an international
audience to discover these two masterpieces in New York.”8
exhibition will run until March 11, 2018
The MORGAN LIBRARY
(at Madison Avenue between East 36th and 37th Streets, http://www.themorgan.org
) has a quartet of
exhibitions on offer.
Most important for the subject matter of this blog is Magnificent Gems: Medieval Treasure
which runs until January 7, 2018
. This exhibition focuses on the beautifully
bejeweled book bindings of the Middle Ages.
In an age when all books were the products of the human hand those that
were brilliantly illuminated, especially the Bible and the books used for
liturgical purposes, they were treasured and frequently honored with incredible
covers of gold and precious stones. Few
have survived the centuries, frequently being destroyed to recover the value of
their metal. The Viking invasions and
the Reformation were particularly hard on valuable book covers. So, it is a major event that the Morgan is
displaying its amazing collection of bindings collected primarily by J.P.
Morgan and his father, J. Pierpont Morgan. Along with the bindings are manuscripts whose borders depict similar jewel studded decorations, demonstrating how highly prized were the jeweled bindings themselves.
In keeping with the season, the Morgan is also offering Charles Dickens and the Spirit of Christmas
which runs until January 14, 2018
and celebrates the 150th
anniversary of Dickens’ reading tour of America. It focuses on the little known (at least to
me) fact that Dickens wrote several Christmas novellas, not just “A Christmas
Carol”. That was only the first of
five. It also includes, on December 15th
at 6:30 PM, a dramatic reading of that first novella. Tickets are $25.00 (with reductions for
members and children) and can be ordered here Buy
Also on view are two exhibitions drawn from the Thaw
Collection, formed by Eugene and Clare Thaw who are among today’s major
collectors and museum benefactors, and recently gifted to the Morgan.
The first, Drawn
to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection
, runs until January
and “focuses on pivotal artists and key moments in the history of
draftsmanship. Works by major masters from the Renaissance to the modern era
will be on view, including Mantegna, Rubens, Rembrandt, Canaletto, Piranesi, Watteau,
Fragonard, Goya, Ingres, Turner, Daumier, Redon, Degas, Cézanne, Gauguin, van
Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, and Pollock.”9
Another, Views of
Rome and Naples: Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection
, runs until March
. This exhibition focuses on
the oil sketches of these two Italian cities made during the second half of the
eighteenth century. At the time, a visit
to Italy, and especially to these two historic cities, by young artists was an
essential part of their training.
“Working outdoors, artists recorded their observations of these natural
and man-made wonders in small-scale studies, mostly executed with oil paint on
paper. In these oils, painters captured the grandiosity of Rome’s classical
ruins and the sublime natural beauty of Naples, with its famous view of Mount
Vesuvius. Artists from France, Belgium, Germany, Norway, and Sweden are
featured in this selection.”10
And, on January 19, 2018 the Morgan will open a major
exhibition on the drawings of the 17th Century Flemish greats trio
of Rubens, Van Dyck and Jordaens. The
show will be composed from within the Morgan’s own holdings and loans from
other museums and will be a wonderful opportunity to compare the work of these
three artists, whose work revolutionized Flemish art and contributed vastly to
the 17th Century Baroque style in neighboring France and Holland. This exhibition will run until April 29, 2018.
MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
(53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, http://www.moma.org
), has a few exhibitions that
may be of interest.
The first is most
unusual for MoMA, it’s a fashion exhibition!
As the MoMA website points out, it is the first fashion related
exhibition in the museum’s history.
Unlike recent shows at the Met, which focus on the work of a particular
designer, this show explores items of clothing that have had an influence on
fashion in the twentieth century. Items: Is Fashion Modern?
until January 28, 2018
The second MoMA exhibition, Max Ernst: Beyond Painting
will run until January 1, 2018
. Ernst loved to experiment with techniques,
which often give his paintings an air of otherworldliness. “Featuring approximately 100 works drawn from
the Museum’s collection, the exhibition includes paintings that challenged
material and compositional conventions; collages and overpaintings utilizing
found printed reproductions; frottages (rubbings); illustrated books and
collage novels; sculptures of painted stone and bronze; and prints made using a
range of techniques.”11
Finally, there is an exhibition that may be of interest to
those of us who have grown up during the years of the computer revolution (and
perhaps also to those who arrived here when the revolution was nearly over), Thinking Machines: Art and Design in the
Computer Age, 1959–1989
, which will run until April 8, 2018
. “The exhibition reveals how artists,
architects, and designers operating at the vanguard of art and technology
deployed computing as a means to reconsider artistic production.”12
The NEUE GALERIE
(Fifth Avenue at East 86th Street, http://www.neuegalerie.org
will be showing Wiener Werkstätte
1903-1932: The Luxury of Beauty
, which will run until January 29, 2018
. “More than 400 objects have been selected for
the presentation, and the loans are drawn from both public and private
collections in the United States and Europe, including significant pieces from
Austria. This show surveys the entirety of the firm’s extensive output in a
variety of media, including ceramics, drawings, fashion, furniture, glass,
graphic design, jewelry, metalwork, textiles, and wallpaper.”13
New York’s two museums of history are also offering some
exhibitions of more than usual interest.
The NEW-YORK HISTORICAL
(Central Park West and 77th
), is displaying
its recently rehung collection of paintings, one of the most important
collections of the Hudson River School in existence. The exhibition, entitled Collector's Choice: Highlights from the Permanent Collection
described as ongoing.
Also ongoing is the newly created gallery of Tiffany
lamps. The new space displays
approximately 100 examples of Tiffany lamps, along with information on how they
were created, about the designers who worked on them and the milieu in which
they were used.
The Historical Society also has several other exhibitions
that may be of interest. Among them are:
Vietnam War: 1945 – 1975
, which will run until April 22, 2018
Visionary: John F. Kennedy's Life and Times
, which runs until January 7,
Express: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection
. This will close on February 25, 2018.
The ongoing exhibition of Audubon’s Birds of America
The MUSEUM OF THE
CITY OF NEW YORK
(Fifth Avenue between 103rd
) will offer
several interesting small exhibitions.
Silver, Then and Now (ongoing) compares silver recently crafted in New York
with that done by New York silversmiths during the eighteenth- and
the Open, Fifty Years of Public Art in New York. This will run
until May 13, 2018. Reviews the
public art of the last half century which has a different character to prior
York, Fashion Takes a Trip focuses on the decade of the 1960s a time in
which a revolution in fashion accompanied so many other revolutions in manners,
politics and morals. The exhibition
closes on April 1, 2018.
Stettheimer Dollhouse (ongoing). This wonderfully detailed dollhouse was
created in the time just after the First World War, and is a delightful time
trip for adults as well as for children.
Many people are unaware that the NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY also presents exhibitions from its vast holdings of books and other paper
ephemera and, this Christmas, has two special exhibitions to offer.
The first, at the main library building, the
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, home
of the famous lions,
who at this season proudly wear their evergreen wreath collars, is A Writer's Christmas:
Dickens & More, which runs until January 8, 2018. It includes not just the works of Dickens,
but of other writers, giving a variety of views on the holiday season.
The second, at the Library’s specialized Library
for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center (Lincoln Center,
between the Metropolitan Opera House and the Beaumont Theatre), is a display of
that perennial New York favorite the New York City Ballet’s version of The
Nutcracker. The exhibition, Winter Wonderland: George Balanchine’s The
Nutcracker®, documents the first ten years of the ballet’s history, from
1954 to 1964 and should be a thrill for just about everyone. It runs until January 27, 2018.
So, if a brisk walk in cold weather isn’t really your cup of
tea, you can easily find something to suit in museums. And maybe have a
cup of something hot while you’re at it.
Need to Sit
Down/Drink Something/Eat Something?
Visiting museums is a wonderful way to spend the day, but it
does tend to make one both tired and hungry.
In my volunteer “job” as a Visitor Services representative at the Met
Fifth Avenue I am frequently asked where to find food and something to
drink. Apparently few people are aware
that most New York museums have restaurants and cafes within their walls. These include:
Fifth Avenue (which has five public
and two members only restaurants,
plus a cocktail bar),
Breuer (which has two, one casual,
the other more formal),
Library (which has two),
of Modern Art (which has several
tucked away on different floors),
Historical Society (which has two),
of the City of New York (which has
Galerie (which has two),
- The New York Public Library, Main Building
(which has one) and
The New York Public Library, Library for the
Performing Arts (which has one).
There are also some reasonably priced places to eat within a
block or two of those mentioned above as well as near the Frick, which at the
moment does not have a restaurant. There
is really no need to run the discomfort and risk of eating from a street food cart, especially
when the weather is frigid.
Although most visitors are grateful to hear that museums do
offer so many dining options I’m sometimes asked where to eat outside the
museum (and even near some of the mid-town attractions) and here’s my answer,
at least for the areas around the museums mentioned here.
Near the Neue Galerie and the Met (86th Street – 84th
This is an expensive,
residential area, where the majority of the restaurants are quite pricey, but
there are a few possibilities outside the museums.
86th Street and Madison Avenue. Classic
French and pricier than most, but well worth the splurge if you can afford it.
Dean and Deluca
85th Street and Madison Avenue. Not a
restaurant as such, but you can get sandwiches and salads and drinks and perch
on a few stools in the window.
The New Amity Coffee
– 84th Street and Madison Avenue, west side of the Avenue. This is a classic New York Greek diner. It has had the same décor for at least the
last 40 years, but the food is good, the staff is friendly (except at lunch
time, when no staff anywhere is friendly) and the prices are pretty good as
Le Pain Quotidien
– 84th Street and Madison Avenue, east side of Madison. A branch of the well-known chain featuring
some communal tables. A bit on the
pricey side for sandwiches, but usually very good.
Near the Met (82nd to 79th Streets).
Lexington Candy Shop
– 83rd Street and Lexington Avenue. This
requires walking a couple of extra blocks, and is definitely a step back in
time. It’s a genuine lunch counter/ice
cream parlor from the 1920s. Presumably
the stoves, etc. have been replaced over time and there was the “renovation” in
the late 1980s when the pay telephone booths were removed to make way for two
more tables, but that’s about it. It’s
been run by the same family since the 1920s.
Space is tight and it’s usually very busy. The food echoes the décor and prices aren’t
dirt cheap, but it’s worth the trip for the experience and to help it survive.
Avenue between 80th and 81st Street.
This is one of the offshoots of the Zabar family’s empire. There is a pricier restaurant here, but there
is also a take-out division, with prepared sandwiches, etc. and a convenient
bench outside the door if it’s decent weather, especially if you are drinking
something hot. Be warned though, the
sandwiches and salads are not on the low end of price, although they are
equivalent or slightly cheaper than you might pay in a diner.
– Madison Avenue and 79th Street (upstairs). One of a chain of mid-priced Italian
eateries. Offers pizza, pasta and
entrees at moderate (but not cheap) prices.
The only drawback for this particular Serafina is that it is on the
second floor and there is no elevator.
I can’t recommend anything else in the stretch between 84th
Near the Met Breuer (79th to 72nd Street).
This area used to be plentifully supplied
with restaurants and bakeries at all price ranges. However, the rents have risen so high in the
last decades that, one by one, they have mostly closed. What is left is one Greek coffee shop, one
moderate to expensive Italian restaurant, one moderate Italian themed café and
several expensive restaurants, confined primarily to the side streets, where
the rent is a little less. What’s left
Madison Avenue between 77th and 78th Street.
This is the oldest of the New York offshoots of the classic Milanese
restaurant of the same name. If you are
coming here for lunch or dinner, it's expensive. However, at the front of the restaurant is a
bar area where you can have lighter fare, like panini or focaccia, and pastries
at reasonable prices. Do not miss the
gelato, which is the REAL thing.
Three Guys Coffee Shop
– Madison Avenue between 75th and 76th Street, one-half block from the
Breuer. A large and more elegant version
of the classic New York Greek diner. The
menu is extensive, the prices are a much steeper than usual for this type of
restaurant and the crowds at lunchtime and on weekends are appalling, but it’s
generally worth it.
Via Quadronno –
73rd Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues.
This is a tiny North Italian eatery.
It’s incredibly crowded at lunchtime and expensive for dinner. However, the all-day panini/salad/pastry menu
is reasonable and there are some bargains.
For example, instead of a cup of American coffee for $5, you get a pot,
containing about 3 cups.
. If coffee and a tidbit (but not a meal) are
what you want, you might try the newly opened branch of this Swiss company at
Madison Avenue and 74th
Street (the southern end of the block occupied
by the Breuer). Coffee is the main menu
item, tidbits are small and there are no tables. There are curved wooden seating areas where
you can perch.
The Loeb Boathouse. If a walk in the park would clear your head,
you might try entering Central Park at either 79th , 76th or 72nd Streets and following the paths to the main Lake. The
Loeb Boathouse sits on the north side of the Lake. There are two distinct dining possibilities
available within it.
The first is the
pricier Lakeside Restaurant, which
offers somewhat upscale dining at somewhat upscale prices. However, the atmosphere of a beautiful room
opening onto the lake leaves a memorable impression and is definitely an "only
in New York"experience. This part is
open late for dinner and can be accessed after dark by a shuttle bus that makes
stops along Fifth Avenue from 79th to 72nd Streets.
The second dining room is the counter service Express Café
. Although not quite as lovely as the Lakeside room this
does have its own atmosphere, complete with a cozy fire in winter and a view of
the lake. There is also a small sheltered patio where one can sit outside, even
in winter, if it isn’t too cold. It
offers burgers and hot dogs, as well as sandwiches, salads and soups, all of
which are very good. Not surprisingly,
it’s hugely popular, especially on weekends, all year long. During the winter it
is only open till 4:30.
Nearby the Boathouse and slightly closer to Fifth Avenue the
Model Boat Lake (officially the Conservatory Water) sits between the 76th
There, on the terrace of the model boat house, is a branch of Le Pain Quotidien
which offers beverages
and a limited menu of edibles, including hot dogs and baguette sandwiches
during the season. Seating is all
outdoor, so once it becomes really cold it will likely shut down till
spring. But, on a pleasant not too cold day,
it offers a nice breather while you sip your coffee or tea.
Near the Frick Museum (72nd Street to 68th Street).
What little exists in the immediate vicinity
is very expensive. So, to find more
reasonably priced food you may need to head to Lexington Avenue, three blocks
away. Clustered around 70th Street and
Lexington are several options, including a French restaurant, an Italian
restaurant, a fish restaurant, a deli and a pizza joint. Two good lower priced options are:
Neal’s Coffee Shop
(70th Street and Lexington Avenue, east side of Lexington). This is another Greek diner that hasn’t
changed much since the 1970s, except for the addition of a back room with more
seats. Usually very crowded from
breakfast through lunch.
Diagonally across the street, is Corrado Café
(70th Street and Lexington Avenue, west side of
Lexington). Corrado is tiny, with
limited seating inside and some seating outside which is useful in good
weather. Premade sandwiches and salads
are reasonable and usually very good.
Also sells pastries and bread to take home. Well worth the walk from Fifth.
Avenue between 70th and 71st Street).
This is the New York outpost of the famous Parisian patisserie. It’s not
exactly a restaurant, since it sells only confections and only has two
tables. It usually has a line, waiting
to buy some of the incredible macarons.
I love the rose macarons, which taste just like eating a rose petal,
only better. Not cheap, but a macaron or
two probably won't break your piggy bank.
Near the Museum of Modern Art (53rd Street between Fifth
This is in midtown. There are lots of opportunities to find
something within a moderate budget.
Going west, Sixth and Seventh Avenues are loaded with all manner of
dining options. Moving east the options,
while still there, are more limited. I
can recommend two restaurants within one block of the Modern on the east side
of Fifth Avenue. They are:
Le Pain Quotidien
(53rd Street between Fifth and Madison).
Another branch of the reliable chain.
(53rd Street between Fifth and Madison).
One of a chain of modern coffee shops that offers what is probably the
best hamburger in Manhattan, way better than the greasy offerings of the
various Shake Shacks.
Near the Morgan Library (34th to 40th Streets).
The Morgan is also in a midtown area, with a
variety of dining options. My personal
Moonstruck Coffee Shop
– Madison at 38th Street. This is a
large, modern styled Greek diner with typical Greek diner food and spectacular
bathrooms that are worth stopping here for.
Two branches of the popular sandwich and salad chain, Pret a Manger
. These are reasonably priced, good but very
busy. There are two within a very short
walk from the Morgan. The nearest is at
Fifth Avenue and 37th Street, the other is at Madison Avenue and 39th
Street. The 39th Street Pret is quite
large and not quite as crowded as it lies on a border between residential and
commercial real estate.
Near the Cloisters (Fort Tryon Park, northern Manhattan)
Alas, the nearest thing to the Met Cloisters is the lovely New Leaf Café
within Fort Tryon
Park. However, while the food can be
spectacular it is pricey and almost always requires a reservation, especially
on weekends. The Cloisters does have a
small eating place in the Trie cloister building, but only in warm
weather. For now, you are out of luck at
the Cloisters itself.
Near the New York Historical Society (The Upper West Side
between 79th and 72nd Streets)
The Upper West Side is replete with dining
opportunities. One block west of the
Historical Society is Columbus Avenue, which offers many possibilities. As this is not my home neighborhood and I
don’t eat here often I hesitate to make recommendations. However, a few suggestions are:
Street between Amsterdam and Broadway. Long running Italian restaurant with decent
food and a usually packed house. It has
survived four decades of changes on the Upper West Side and is still going
Columbus Avenue at 77th
One of the numerous neighborhood outposts of the original in Madison
Square Park. Offers hamburgers
primarily. I personally do not like
their hamburgers but they do have a large and faithful following.
Columbus Avenue at 75th
North Italian with a lovely dining room.
Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. Pleasant Italian with a reasonably priced
You will also find several Starbuck’s Coffee
shops on Columbus Avenue, something that you will
not find near the East Side museums.
Near the New York Public Library locations mentioned
Near the Main Schwarzmann building, at Fifth Avenue and 42nd
Street there are several low-priced options and a rather special mid-priced one.
. The nearest is located on East 42nd
Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenues.
There is another at 40th
and Madison Avenue. The 42nd
Street McDonald’s is
closest to the north end of the library building, while the 40th
Street location is closer to the southern end of the library.
. Both had locations directly across from the
Street side entrance of the library building, between Fifth and
Sixth (Avenue of the Americas) Avenues.
The Bryant Park Grill
in Bryant Park, behind the library building and close to the 40th
Street entrance to Bryant Park. A
stylish alternative, a bit on the pricey side (lunch entrees run $20-30), but a
lovely, if loud, experience.
There are other places to eat on the Sixth Avenue side of
the park and, during the winter months, several temporary locations in
association with the ice skating rink (which is installed over the enormous
Near the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.
In the immediate vicinity of Lincoln Center there are a few
options that won’t entirely break your bank account.
Columbus Avenue at 63rd
Not the original P.J., which is on the East Side, but this branch has
put down reasonably deep roots and has some of the same old New York pub
atmosphere. Prices range from $17 for
the Classic Burger to the low $30s.
Broadway between 63rd
Street. This long running Italian offers a menu with
variety, but is a bit pricey.
Broadway at 64th
more casual offshoot of the East Side Café Bolud, Bar Bolud offers both
prix-fixe and a la carte lunches and dinners and a charcuterie menu. A prix-fixe lunch currently costs $27.00 for
a two-course and $34.00 for a three-course lunch.
Le Pain Quotidien
Street between Broadway and Central Park West. Another branch of the popular Belgian
eateries, with somewhat pricey sandwiches, pastries, etc.
Broadway between 65th
Streets. A small, deli style place, not really meant
for eating in, but it does have a few very crowded tables, suitable for a quick
sandwich or salad, not a relaxed meal.
Tavern on the Green
inside Central Park at West 67th
Street. This is the reincarnation of the immensely
popular restaurant that graced the park for many years. It is on the pricey side and word of mouth
isn’t terribly enthusiastic, but it might be worth a splurge.
Farther up the avenues that converge at Lincoln Square
(i.e., Columbus and Broadway) there are a number of restaurants for all types
of cuisine, pizzerias, bakeries. The
stretch from 67th
Streets is particularly rich
(as is the stretch of Amsterdam between 72nd
Streets). I have made some
recommendations for the northern part (around 79th
describing the surroundings of the New-York Historical Society.
Whichever of these exhibitions strike your fancy or respond
to your interests, the important thing is to get out and see them. Christmas is always a magical time in most of
the museums. Plain and workaday through most of
the year, at Christmas they spring to life with seasonal décor. There is nothing better than coming from a
cold exterior world into a warm and beautifully decorated world that centers
- (Holland Cotter, The New York Times, November 9,
and Dalya Alberge, 'Lost' masterpiece by Spanish artist found hanging in Welsh
castle”, The Guardian, November 19, 2017 at https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/nov/19/spanish-artists-bartolome-esteban-murillo-lost-masterpiece-found-welsh-penrhyn-castle