You could quite easily spend an entire rainy week in New York working your way round the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
This vast treasure house consists of almost 250 rooms filling something like twenty-one acres of floor-space, roughly two million square feet, and only about a quarter of the permanent collection can be exhibited at one time.
The core of the museum was built by the co-designer of Central Park, Calvert Vaux, in collaboration with Jacob Wrey Mould in 1880 to house a collection that had already outgrown two previous buildings on other sites in ten years: long since buried amid later accretions, the original museum has since been extended on at least eight occasions.
Among the most memorable experiences the Museum can offer are the 1978 Sackler Wing which houses the entire Egyptian Temple of Dendur and the Astor Court which contains a reproduction of a Ming dynasty Chinese garden.
A hint of the wealth of paintings in the Museum’s collection can be found simply by checking the Wikipedia entry’s ‘Selections from the permanent collection of paintings’: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolitan_Museum_of_Art.
Whenever you become footsore or simply overstimulated by this great world museum, the consummate life-enhancing experience is the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, where the memorable views of Central Park and midtown Manhattan compete with the exhibits.
For details of Mike Higginbottom’s lecture The Big Apple: the architecture of New York City, please click here.