Saturday, 30 June 2012

DC & New York: VI


Day two in New York began much like day one – I convinced David to make me breakfast while I looked over our itinerary for the day. Breakfast this day included some of our delicious leftover peppered cheese. It was great.

After our relaxing start to the morning, we took off for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As we’d already ‘done’ European art in DC, and can see it any time we wish, we decided to focus our time on their American art exhibits. I felt a bit like over-privileged euro-trash being able to pass up on the opportunity to see the Met’s ancient/medieval art collection, but it seemed pretty stupid to come all the way to America and not see the best of what they had. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take any photos inside the galleries, but I found the scores of period rooms to be the highlight of my visit there. It’s so much more interesting to see beautiful pieces of furniture and plate in context. The Tiffany collection was also fantastic.

One of the few things we could take pictures of -- a beautiful display by Tiffany
We devoted our afternoon to more sightseeing/shopping. We headed back to the East Village (we actually spent most of our time out this way, which was totally unplanned) to look in a few more book/comic stores (like Forbidden Planet). We also went to a quaint little toyshop called Dinosaur Hill, which was part of my quest to buy the baby its first toy while we were on vacation. On our way back to the subway, David spied a Ukrainian diner so we decided to pop in for our afternoon tea. After a mere five minutes in Veselka, we discovered it was going to be the place that ensured the East Village was where we’d spend the most time. I think I could have eaten there every day if possible. Not wanting to overdo it, however, we decided to stick to coffee/hot chocolate and split a dessert. We tried kutya, a sort of sticky Ukranian pudding made with wheatberries, nuts, and various other delicious things. 

En route to the subway
curves!

We had tickets to see the opera L’elisir d’amore at the Met, and decided that since we were so full from lunch and our afternoon tea it would make the most sense to pick up food to make at the flat once the opera was finished. So we journeyed to midtown West and the kosher deli Zabars. En route David spotted a bookstore across the street, which led to me finding a Southern cookbook from a place called Lynchburg... yup. After I hauled David out of the store we went to experience the treats of Zabars, which for a kosher deli had a surprising amount of shellfish, pork products, and meat stuffed with dairy. We bought some sweet potato knishes to snack on at the opera, and then raced down to Lincoln Square so that we could get there in good time.

This was our second epic opera adventure for the year, which makes up for last year’s complete lack of opera. Our household is divided on which was better, a debate which combines both individual musical tastes and artistic sensibilities. I preferred our experience at the Royal Opera, David thus preferred the Met! I must agree with him that the set was beautiful—a wonderful dreamscape of pastels that made one happy to look at. And this opera was a comedy, so we were kept well-entertained. I was glad to have seen it, as it is a lesser known one. My main quibble with the Met is that the surtitles appear in the back of the chair in front, making them damned hard to read if you’re also trying to watch the stage. But the music, the performance, and the set were all spot on. Having now seen operas at two of the world’s big opera houses this year makes it a very good one for us, and we are both feeling quite spoiled.
After the opera, disaster! Due to engineering works (as they say in London), we couldn’t take the subway back to our neighbourhood. It seemed as if every train we found was going to bypass our station. A journey of 15 minutes soon spread into 60, and eventually we got as near as we could and just walked the rest of the way. I was really thankful that we had picked up a bunch of reheatable food at Zabar’s, since I was starving by the time we got in and wasn’t handling the whole not knowing how to get home thing that well. It felt so good to just relax with hot food, Seinfeld playing in the background, and start the great debate about which opera experience was better.

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