How to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art
“Yakov” writes in a comment:
Tell us about your trip to the museum. I’m dying to go, but haven’t been in years – too much work. Working this Sunday and as far as I can see in the future. Terrible. My life is very beastly, sometimes. So blog about the museum, will you?
They try to make it appear like you have to pay $25 to get in, but actually the museum is legally required, based on a very old deal with New York City, to allow people to visit for free. I always give a single dollar, because I would feel extra cheap giving a penny, or explaining that I want to enter for free. I suspect that one dollar is the most common donation of people who don’t pay the full price. This is not a deal that the current management of the museum is happy about and they would not make it today if they were doing things over again.
The best entrance is the handicapped entrance to the left of the big stairs leading up to the main entrance. This side entrance is a lot less crowded.
The coat check is free and you are not supposed to tip. So take advantage of the coat check!
At the cafeteria in the basement, the food is about 75% more expensive than food at a regular self-service type of lunch place in Manhattan, but pretty convenient, and plenty of seats on a weekday. They give out free water just outside of the cash registers, so don’t waste your money on buying an overpriced soft drink; water is healthier and a lot less expensive. You are supposed to bus your own tray after you finish eating; you should do that in order to not be an obnoxious slob.
The museum has the expected large collection of paintings from famous artists, but there is a lot of other stuff such as statues from ancient Rome and Greece, a big collection of Egyptian artifacts, arms and armor, furniture, costumes (I suspect that gay men like that exhibit), musical instruments, knickknacks etc.
Through May 15th, there is a hugely significant exhibit of Vigée Le Brun paintings. Make sure you see it before all of the paintings are sent back to European museums and private collectors.
I wish they had twentieth-century and contemporary landscape paintings, but unfortunately they don’t have any of that because it’s considered “kitsch” and not worthy of being in a museum. They just have the normal crap that’s considered museum-worthy modern and contemporary art. I suggest you avoid that part of the museum unless you’ve seen everything else. I don’t even know why they are wasting exhibit space on that stuff, the city already has two other museums for that stuff, the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum.
There’s too much to see in just one day. Also, most of their medieval art collection is at The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park. You should go there too sometime. Same admission rules.