Before climbing the magisterial stone staircase in the Great Hall of the Met’s main location, on 82nd Street and Fifth Avenue, check out the Crypt Gallery below. Previously a storage area, the arched space now houses an important collection of Byzantine jewelry. From there, make sure to see all of the Met’s meticulously researched period rooms. (Don’t worry, you’ll see plenty of masterpieces along the way.) The Studiolo from the Ducal Palace, for example, is a fully preserved 15th-century personal study, with beautiful inlaid-wood designs. Twenty- six workers from Suzhou, China, were flown in to work on the Astor Chinese Garden Court, carefully constructing the room to its original dimensions and orientation. When you move from one perfectly appointed period room to the next in the Wrightsman Galleries for French Decorative Arts, take note of the subtle lighting changes, from the candlelight of 18th-century Paris to the warm southern sun. From April to October, make a pit stop at the Roof Garden, featuring a yearly commissioned installation by a contemporary artist and a spectacular view of Central Park.
As you walk to the Met Breuer on Madison and 75th, download and listen to “Soundwalk 9:09,” a nine-minute composition, by Pulitzer Prize winner John Luther Adams, drawn from urban sounds sampled along the route between the two buildings. The brutalist outpost, on an eight-year lease from the Whitney Museum, is dedicated to modern and contemporary art. From November 15 to February 4, 2018, go see “Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed,” featuring 16 self-portraits that have never been seen in the U.S. until this year. Don’t forget to visit chef Ignacio Mattos’s innovative Flora Bar on the lower level.
Take a cab uptown to the Met Cloisters, four acres of medieval European gardens, art, and architecture in Fort Tryon Park. Its peaceful terrace overlooking the Hudson River begs you to sit and recharge right before museum fatigue sets in. metmuseum.org
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