The city of NY hosts the annual Museum Day Live! where some of the lesser known museums offer free admission for one day only. On Sept. 28 we visited two, one of which was not so great and the other only ok. Not everything in NY is fabulous!
The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) is known as the showcase for contemporary crafts. It is located in a sleek nine story building right on Columbus Circle across from Central Park. Entrance fee is usually $16.
An elevator whisks you to the top floor, home of Robert, a well-known high end restaurant with wonderful views of the park. However, the elevator drops you off right in the middle of the restaurant, so patrons are constantly being interrupted by a discharge of passengers (like us) who are stopping by just for the view. Another floor boasts working artists who are present to explain their philosophies and describe their techniques, but the floors are so small that only one or two can be present at one time. Two other floors are galleries of contemporary crafts and the featured show at this time was “Body and Soul: New International Ceramics.” It is described as “underscoring the power of the figue to convey strong emotions”….. and we could hardly wait to get out of there!
A final floor presented a jewelry collection featuring designers like Dior, Chanel, etc, and this was much more palatable.
The other five floors are offices, so this turned out to be a very tiny museum on a very expensive piece of real estate. The main exhibit was just too depressing and weird for our tastes.
We walked across the circle to the Time Warner Building and visited the Shops at Columbus Circle which are analgous to those in the Cherry Creek mall. It was the first time we had been in upscale shops without doormen. This skyscraper is light and airy and has open spaces for the public to enjoy fabulous views of Central Park. We made a quick stop in Stone Rose Lounge, one of the hot spots for drinks.
It was a pleasure to walk across Central Park on this warm autumn afternoon and we enjoyed strolling “the Mall” path that is adorned with groves of stately elm trees and statue after statue of historical and literary figures.
Our other stop was at the Mount Vernon Hotel which is located in our neighborhood. It was a “day hotel” or country club for New Yorkers back in the early 1800s. At that time the city existed as far north as 14th Street, and many of these country clubs were built far north of the city (this is on E. 61st Street) as day retreats from the noise and crowds of Manhattan. People would take carriages or boats and come to the country for the day to dine out and enjoy a hotel of luxury. Women sewed or strolled and men played cards or read newspapers. Interestingly, no one spent the night.
This was a typical structure such as one would see in Williamsburg or in many historical spots in Virginia. We did a quick tour and then headed across the street to the local Bed Bath for some apartment needs……one extreme to the other!
All in all, we were glad to see these two museums but we won’t be going back to either!