Day 3, Sat 23rd April

I overslept badly. Slept through Shelly getting up, drying her hair and going out to get brekkie from the Deli. I only woke up when she opened the curtains! Those earplugs were good!

We tried to go on the Subway to the Guggenheim. We were going to go down and across town and then up the east side of Central Park. But there were no downtown trains. First use of any metro system is always confusing, let alone one that has loads of engineering works! Plus we couldn’t work out how to get onto the right side… uptown and downtown had separate entrances… When we finally got out of the tube, we were on the west of the park – so we walked through the park by the Jackie Onassis Kennedy reservoir. It was a pleasant walk – but the rain was getting heavier with every step. Shelly was desperate for the loo so rushed off in the direction of the Guggenheim – where there was a round the block queue. Another one…

Was nearly an hour’s wait out in the rain, but we eventually got in. The building is fantastic. It is a giant spiral with all the works displayed on the outside walls – there are occasional side rooms that show special collections – but the display as a whole was on the outer walls. I’m not sure if the exhibits change, but the works on show up the spiral were displayed 1 year per level and spanned 1910-1915. More on these in a later post. The building had a lovely golden glow to it – but sadly, you can’t take pictures of it beyond the ground floor. Not even of the building. The attendants were zealous about this, despite no-one wanting to take photos of the art. There was a collection of Kandinsky working with Bauhaus and on the lowest level some Impressionists and abstracts (Picasso, Degas, Monet etc.) – all good.

When we left, the rain had cleared and we walked up Madison Avenue, looking in boutiques and for somewhere to eat. Couldn’t see anywhere and stumbled into the MET – so we went in there with the assumption we would eat there. It was their donation night – and was a great place. We had nice food and went to look round a selection of sections. We started with the Lehman collection (again lots of nice impressionism) and moved on to the Contemporary Modern (via the special Card Table Cezanne exhibition and whatever else caught our eyes along the way). There were some iconic people and images in there. Saw my first Macintosh and O’Keefe in the flesh. There was also 2 Chuck Close paintings – one pre and one post illness – which were HUGE and completely brilliant and fascinating. I also saw Warhol’s Chairman Mao – this was SO much bigger than I expected. Huge, huge, huge.

We were winding our way out and stumbled on part of the Asia, Australasia section – and there were some amazing poles with phalluses carved whole out of a Mangrove tree – upside down. Incredible. And also a good place for a ‘nice sit down’ for a few minutes. We got chucked out at closing time at 9 – so were rushing through the European paintings to see more Van Gogh, Monet and Degas. Just got them all in (and in passing saw the Birth of Venus) before deciding to get a cab home because we were so tired.

The cab proved a brilliant plan. Wasn’t that expensive, and we got to see lots of streets and sights without harming our poorly feet further!

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