Museum day - have to flog that pass! The museums are very close to central park so it makes sense to dedicate a day to it, even though I had exhibit fatigue by the end of it! First one was the Guggenheim, small private collection of modern turn of the century art in a practical building - you take the elevator to the top and walk around a large spiral ramp to the bottom, the art is displayed in the spiral. It was a well put together collection (as I'm sure you can do when you have wealth and the homes to complement the art). I had the best coffee so far in new York at the on site cafe.
I walked around the reservoir lake in central park to get to the metropolitan museum of art - my all time favourite art museum ever! I spent hours here, what a collection! I saw rooms of Van Gogh, Gauguin, Monet (the lillies) Manet, Degas (the ballerinas), Picasso! Of the American exhibitions, the stained glass panels from Tiffany were beautiful, and the 3 floor exhibition of rooms from famous French hotels / homes and relocated American homes (frank Lloyd webber) with all the furniture lighting and wall cladding 1700 -1900 was amazing. There was a fully reconstructed temple gifted from the Egyptian government when America donated money to preserve and relocate ruins in the aswan dam catchment area. There was also beautiful Greek marble statues, and medieval relics and so many other things I did not get time to see! Wow. I had a beautiful lunch at the "posh" restaurant - lemon chicken orzo soup! - anything to avoid kids and cafeteria food.
By comparison the American museum of natural history was a disappointment. You will know it from the movie night at the museum. The best bits were the taxidermy american animals and the evolution of man and mineral display. The san Francisco version was soooo much better and to be honest new Zealand have it over both of them for this sort of thing.
I finished my walk through central park by going to the memorial to John Lennon who lived next to the park and was shot coming out of his building. Strawberry fields has a simple memorial to him with the word imagine. There was a guy playing and singing beatles tunes (bet he gets good tips) and I stopped and listened for half an hour. People were quiet and respectful and occasionally left a flower but it was a surprisingly beautiful memorial to a visionary musician.
This is my last night in the upper east side neighbourhood and I have felt less like a tourist and more a resident. I had dinner at a Spanish tapas restaurant that was doing a happy hour special of $5 sangria and $18 for 3 tapas - manchego cheese and quince paste to start, veal meatballs and finally quail cooked with sherry raisins and figs!