Our 2011 Road Trip #18: A Day at the Met

Chinese Tapestry!

After spending some time resting and admiring this Chinese mural, a trio of young European girls asked me to take their photo for them. One tourist to another, it was the least I could do.

[The very special miniseries continues! See Part One for the official intro and context.]

After the Sony Wonder Tech Lab, we returned to the subway, rode to 86th Street, and walked due west to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Seeing this entire ZIP-code-sized labyrinth of a museum would take months and require camping gear. In gracious deference to the member of our party with the shortest attention span, we kept a narrow focus on the Asian sections. On our next NYC trip someday before I die, it’ll be my turn to see what I want.

Metropolitan Museum of Art!

Coming soon to the Met: the entire state of Rhode Island stuffed into one wing.

Their featured exhibit of the day was a collection of the works of Alexander McQueen. We weren’t paying an upcharge for a separate 25-minute wait to see things created by just one guy, especially one who was a stranger to us. Whoever he was, he certainly had his fans. For all we knew, he could’ve been a former NYC mayor who had a sideline hobby of finger-painting.

Alexander McQueen Line!

These McQueen fans didn’t have to Google him like we did later.

The following is a sampling of our microcosmic world tour:

Terra Cotta Dome!

Fully preserved terracotta dome ceiling.

Chinese Turquoise!

Fancy action figure with zero points of articulation.

Tiny Koran.

Tiny Koran.

Iron Cross.

A larger iron cross.


Serious boxer into serious boxing.

Stone Arches!

Small collection of stone arches.

Orange Saddle!

5th-century Qi Dynasty horse and rider.

Charlie Brown Art!

Your clothing is made of art relics, Charlie Brown!


Cuneiform tablets.


Twin faintly sphinx-like guardian creatures.

Egypian Pool!

Indoor reflecting pool in the Egyptian section. A welcome place to rest.

Then I persuaded my wife and son to follow me to the weapons and armor. Who doesn’t love implements of medieval destruction?

Pole Arms!

Six glaives and a halberd. Fans of medieval armaments and/or Dungeons & Dragons may know which one is the odd pole arm out.


Jousting quartet.

Codpiece Armor!

The armor of King Ferdinand I.


SABER! It begins with a bloody S!

Samurai Armor!

One darkened room was set aside for several sets of samurai armor. The security guards’ steadfast cries of “No flash photography!” preserved history but ruined nearly all our related shots.

We had hoped to grab a small lunch somewhere nearby, but our only visible options in front of the museum were a couple of carts down the front steps. The winner was a Sigmund Pretzel Shop cart. I enjoyed myself a truffle-‘n’-cheddar pretzel to tide me over for the moment. Anne ordered a hot dog on a pretzel bun. When the nice saleslady inquired about toppings, Anne replied, “Just ketchup.”

The lady was aghast and bug-eyed. “JUST KETCHUP?”

Her stunned cry reverberated off the museum’s stonework facade and echoed for miles in all directions. Every nearby conversation ground to a halt. Somewhere a wine glass was dropped and shattered amidst the tense silence. You could hear a pin drop in nearby Central Park as the wildlife dropped their collective jaws in horror, even the tiny invertebrates that technically don’t have jaws. Upper-class gasps abounded at this faux pas most declassé. Monocles everywhere fell from sockets now too slack to clench them. The nearest overweight debutante fainted in her tracks. Half the babies in New York began to cry.

Well, more or less. Anne apologized and slipped away with her defiled, now sacrilegious snack. As we sat on the museum steps and munched under the imagined stares of the incensed locals, only the pigeons would give us the time of day. It would be a long, long time before she would ever order another restaurant hot dog.

To be continued!

[Historical notes:

1. I forgot all about my intent to revisit the museum while we were in town again this year. Oops.

2. My son graduated two years later and, for a limited time, chose Asian Studies as his major. He changed it later, but that remains an area of fascination for him.

3. I’d be curious to know if any of these items are still on display today, five years later. I saw another WordPress blogger post pics of the reflecting pool earlier this year, so that’s one.]

* * * * *

[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for future chapters, and for our complete road trip history to date. Follow us on Facebook or via email signup for new-entry alerts, or over on Twitter if you want to track my TV live-tweeting and other signs of life between entries. Thanks for reading!]

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