Last week I did something I do quite often, visit the Met Museum every year to view their largest Costume Institute exhibition. Before they open this exhibition the museum host the MET Gala. Yes that Gala in which you ask yourself why are these celebrities dressing up or dressing weirdly? I’ll break it down a bit for people who are not in the fashion, media, art..etc world. Every year the Metropolitan Museum of Art features a few exhibitions, and one very large one. Anna Wintour from Vogue, board members and the Met Museum decide on a theme or designer to focus on or honor with the exhibition. In the past they have focused on Asia and Asian inspired fashion with China Through the Looking Glass or one of their most visited exhibitions Savage Beauty on Alexander McQueen after his death. To attend this event, celebrities have to be invited by Anna Wintour and the team, of which they decide who sits where and they also depict the dress code, usually in connection to the theme of the exhibition. This years exhibition Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, inspired many celebrities to dress in Pope like attire. Some celebrities embrace the theme while others don’t, I personally love those that do. In order to attend this gala, celebrities pay around $30,000 per ticket which benefits the Costume Institute. This year the exhibition spans two locations of the Met Museum. The largest part of the exhibition taking place at The Met on 5th ave and the second at The Met Cloisters in upper Manhattan. I was determined to visit them both and because I thought The Met Bruer had part of the exhibition I ended up visiting all three within two days. How can you do this? I’ll give you my tips below.
There are a few ways you can accomplish this and I am going to suggest one way for New Yorkers and one way for tourists. I think of it this way because normally New Yorkers will know which subways to take and how to find these subways quickly. Where as if you are a visitor you will probably need some time to figure out which subway to take, where you have to catch it, where you have to get off and where to go once off etc. If you are savy with directions or have a great app to help you it can speed up the process. I just suggest taking this into consideration and the fact that NYC blocks are a mile long and you’ll be looking up at buildings and not walking as fast. Now if you feel you want to do this in a different manner, go right ahead but after some thought and doing this myself these are my suggestions. With one Met Museum ticket you can visit all three locations within three consecutive days, thanks to its ticket policy. One ticket gets you into all three! So this means you only have to pay to get into one museum no matter which, and transportation. Take advantage of this and make sure to KEEP THE RECEIPT as each museum will ask for the receipt when you mention this policy!
Tourist: Your first stop should be the Met Breuer, the smallest of the three. This museum holds modern art including Picasso’s. The museum is small with only a few floors, with one currently closed for construction. It also has many large sculptures as opposed to alot of paintings, which in my opinion made the process of reading about and viewing the piece faster. It only took me an hour an a half to complete the museum, but you might be going a bit slower than I did so I’d say give yourself 2-3 hours here. It probably won’t take you longer than that because like I said, its small. If your hungry check out the café which has a patio area on the basement level of the museum.
Your next stop should be the Met on Fifth. The Met on Fifth is only seven blocks away from the Met Breuer, save yourself money and walk there! If its good whether, you won’t regret it, as the architecture of the upper east side is beautiful and the townhouse lined streets are peaceful. I love walking to the Met because of this simple fact, its like getting a quick peaceful break before you cross into the bustle of Museum Mile on fifth. The Met on Fifth is the largest of the museums and it is going to take you the rest of the day to get through it. Some of my favorite parts of the museum include the Costume Institute if there’s a fashion exhibition, the Egyptian Art wing, the Charles Engelhard Court in the American wing, the Medieval Art wing and the rooftop. The rooftop is open May-October and sometimes holds exhibitions while the views of the city are incredible.
By the time you are done with the Met on Fifth you’ll probably be too tired or it will be too late to attempt to go uptown as the MET closes at 5:30pm (Sun-Thurs) and the Met Cloisters at 5:15pm. You might feel like you didn’t see everything at the Met on Fifth and want to come back the second day. You are going to want to leave the Met Cloisters for the third day, as it takes a while to get up there and because it deserves a slow stroll through the grounds. The Met Cloisters is located inside Fort Tyron park in upper Manhattan, literally almost at the very end of Manhattan. From the Met on Fifth to the Cloisters the subway ride will take around an hour, and from the subway to the museum you are walking uphill. Give yourself time to walk slowly and take in the views of the flowers and nature of the park. I’m assuming you can take a taxi up but why would you, when you’ll miss the views and the nature. NOTE: Once you get off the train follow the signs that say Cloisters to find the elevator inside the subway station that will take you up to the entry of the park. If you attempt to walk from the subway, it will take long and it might be confusing. The park also has many hills and steps and you will be EXHAUSTED by the time you get there. I’ve walked there both ways and highly suggest finding that elevator! Take your time in this museum, its small but gorgeous as it is filled with medieval art and the gardens and the architecture of the building are impeccably detailed.
Local: YOU GOT THIS! I did it!
Now you may like the suggestions I made for tourists, and by all means follow them. But as a person who enters NYC via midtown I prefer going all the way up to the Met Cloisters first and coming back down to the Met Breuer in one day. Now the Met Cloisters connects via the A subway which runs on the west side of Manhattan, but the Met Breuer is on the east side. You would need to transfer to the C or B subway at some point or get off near Central Park and cross. It doesn’t take long if you walk NYC pace! I still enjoyed the park and I made it to the Met Breuer with hours to spare. From the east side of the park to the Met Breuer its only one block away. I did it this way and felt I saw everything both museums had to offer and got to stop and admire sections of the park I hadn’t before. I visited the Met on Fifth on a separate day, I suggest doing the same due to how big it is. Since I know my way around the museum on fifth, I knew exactly what I wanted to see. What I didn’t know and what you might not have realized is the ticket price for local NEW YORKERS is pay as you wish. College students of the NY, NJ and CT area can also pay as they wish. For non-New Yorkers it cost $25 to enter the museum, but like I mentioned above keep that ticket and receipt because it gets you into all three museums. This policy is fairly new, and a lot of people think it’s still pay as you wish for everyone, it is NOT. But it is well worth it if you visit all the museums!
Don’t miss the Picasso’s and Degas’s at the Met Breuer! They have the famous The Little Fourteen Year Old Dancer sculpture by Degas along with other modern art. The museum is the smallest of the three, with many sculptures and a floor currently under construction. You might be finished with more than enough time to visit the Met on Fifth! Take your time at the Cloisters, its like stepping out of New York and into a European medieval castle. The museum itself is small, but you are going to want to take in the details and beauty of the architecture, art and grounds. While Fort Tyron park is beautiful on its own. When at the Met on Fifth make sure to visit the Egyptian and Medieval sections and the rooftop, you wont’ regret that rooftop!
In whatever manner you visit the MET Museums I highly suggest you take advantage of the ticket policy. Locals who are just looking for something to do on a weekend or looking for ways to educate their kids are going to enjoy these museums. While tourists visiting for the first time are not going to want to miss the MET, it is a MUST. I hope this post encourages you to visit at least the MET on FIFTH, as I’ve been visiting this museum since I was a little girl and it is still one of my favorite places on earth.
Time: 2-3 Days
Cost: $25 per ticket + subway ride $2.75 per ride + if you are coming from outside NYC.
I will have a separate post on the Heavenly Bodies : Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. Have you ever visited all three museums as a local or tourists? Let me know in the comments and on social media!- T.S.