The park was quiet, rain dripped steadily from the trees and spattered the walkways. Birds chirped from the foliage, taking shelter from the wet gray skies. With one hand I held my umbrella, with the other I firmly grasped my camera and it gently bumped below my collarbone as I walked. I had debated what footwear to bring, and I was glad I added these to the bottom of my carryon. The tall black rubber boots proved essential.
Earlier that morning I had carefully planned my route. I would spend a few hours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and take a quick walk straight through Central Park to the Upper West Side. There were a couple of places I wanted to check out-Cafe Lalo and Book Culture. I set out from our hotel in Brooklyn, walking about a half-mile to the Atlantic Avenue terminal. The clouds dropped rain. The air outside was thick and humid, the station underground was stagnant, air moved only when a train rushed past. I shed my sweater, thinking that it was strange to wear a tank top in October, but it was stifling (and I don’t like to sweat unless I’m working hard for it!). I rolled the sweater and stuffed it into my bag, then bought a metro card and took the 5 train 10 stops to 86th Street in Manhattan. As I walked down 5th Avenue, it became clear that (of course) there were several hundred people that also decided to spend the rainy day perusing art. A line of umbrellas stretched from the top of the grand museum steps and curved well down the block. Disappointment set in. It had been several years since I visited the Met, and I was really looking forward to going back. Twenty million square feet of art spanning 5,000 plus years of different time periods and cultures…all so close. But I didn’t have the patience to wait unaccompanied in line, and the thought of the crowds that must be inside the museum was enough to make me continue on. Next time I'm in the city, I'll come back (preferably on a weekday).
I felt discouraged and a bit disenchanted, and considered just going back to Brooklyn, kicking off my boots, and spending the rest of the dreary afternoon in my comfortable bed with a box of Nunu chocolates and Netflix. But I came this far, so I decided to make the most of this day and take in the beauty. Because there is always beauty for those who look for it.
[The Glade Arch, originally built in 1862 by Calvert Vaux, west of 5th Avenue and 79th Street]
[Group of Bears by American artist Paul Manship, located in the center of Pat Hoffman Friedman Playground, East 79th Street]
[Belvedere Castle, a folly built in 1869 by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted]
[Cafe Lalo, famed for its decadent pies, cakes, and tarts, as well as its spot in the 1998 movie "You've Got Mail" sits on a brownstone-lined block with light-studded trees out front and plenty of color, character, and French cafe music indoors, West 83rd Street]
[Book Culture, a diverse and energetic bookshop chock full of, well, every subject of book one might want, plus all kinds of pretty and interesting things to indulge one's senses, Columbus Avenue]