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Friday, March 14, 2008

East (Side) Versus West (Side)

David at The Met
Photo by myself at the Metropolitan Museum of Art at Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street.

World reknown for its permanent as well as visiting exhibits, The Met needs no introduction. You can find everything here including paintings, sculpture, mummies, designer clothing, furniture and musical instruments.

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I did something today that I haven't done in years. I went to the Upper East Side.

Ahem. Pardon me, Upper East Siders. Though I now live in Brooklyn, I lived on the Upper West Side for ten years. I am a diehard West Sider. Fairway, Broadway, the 1/9 train, these landmarks are my blood. Madison Avenue, the Museum Mile and the 6 train are foreign to me.

Outside The Met

For those who don't know these divisions, the East Side is known for 'old money', housed in stately limestone buildings along Fifth and Park Avenues. Madison Avenue is the Beverly Hills of New York, lined with boutiques and flagship stores that few can afford. Many of the established museums are located along Fifth Avenue (the Met, the Guggenheim, the Cooper Hewitt).

The West Side, on the other hand, is considerably smaller in size. Historically, musicians and artists lived on there. Where the East Side is known for grand limestone facades and the large modern high rises of the 80's, the West Side is known for brownstones along the sidestreets and beautiful brick apartment buildings along West End Avenue.

No divide is so simple, however, and I'm generalizing in a massive way. (I am also completely neglecting the entire downtown area, but never mind).

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The rivalry between East and West is generally good-hearted. Kramer joked about the East Side on Seinfeld all the time. The real Jerry Seinfeld supposedly lived for a time on West 81st Street.

Anyhow, yes. I went to the Met today. I walked around the outside and the insides and my visit was mind boggling. My mind was simply boggled. I could return next week and the following weeks and not tire of the place.

The painted gallery spaces, the tremendous front lobby, the fashion exhibit downstairs. I have to ask myself, why have I stayed away so long? Can I blame it all on the East Side?

No, I cannot. It is my own sad laziness.

Metropolitan Museum

At the Met

For more on the Upper East Side, click here.
For more on the Upper West Side, click here.

15 comments:

Fredrik said...

This is torture Kitty! Wish Wish teleportation was an option. I HAVE TO VISIT THAT MUSEUM. SOON. VERY SOON.

oldmanlincoln said...

You didn't say which side you prefer.

The photo is modern and up to date. You never used to see cameras like that.

Kitty said...

Fredrik, I'm surprised! You will have to visit New York and spend a good part of a day there.

The Egyptian mummies and stone carvings are stunning. Some of the carved stone statues are enormous! You'll have to come soon!

Hi Lincoln!
Well, I am a die hard West Sider. In my opinion it's more beautiful. I'd love to know Fish's opinion - she lives on the East Side.

It was cool to see people painting there, copying the masterpieces.

Mama Mayborne... said...

When I lived in NY, I thought I'd have plenty of time to see the museums... but never got around to seeing this one. Thanks for the photos!

Mo said...

Its ok to take photos in the museums there?

Kitty said...

Mama, you'll have to visit and take a museum tour. Bring your comfy shoes!

Hi Mo!
It's okay at the Met, generally, but you can't use a flash. I couldn't take pictures at the current Poussin exhibit, or the fashion exhibit downstairs.

I think in most museums you can take photos but you cannot use a flash.

roentarre said...

Wonderful capture. I am surprised that photography is allowed!!!


http://www.roentarre.com

Teri Tynes said...

Hey Kitty,
My first year in NYC, before I turned into WOTBA, I worked on the Upper East Side managing a private art gallery very near the Met. I wanted to cry every day, it was so uptight. I would take the 6 train back to the Village, and every time I came home downtown I felt like kissing the earth.
Though the neighborhood is not my thing, I still go the the MET at least twice a month.

Tammy said...

Great pictures Kitty! I love the one of the man sitting outside the building. I really need to take the kids to the museum soon. It's been ages since I last took Aurora and Aidan has never gone yet.

Kitty said...

Hi Roentarre
Thank you! Btw your portfolio is quite impressive!

Hallo Terri
Uptown and downtown can be like different countries sometimes. What culture shock!

Thanks Tammy!
Dunno if you have a Natural History museum near you? The one here is incredible. They have some meticulous dioramas set up with stuffed animals.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

I love the Met. I am currently suffering from an overdose of Renoir after a day at the Barnes Foundation.

I have to say, as a Brit, I find the whole east side/west side, uptown/downtown shennagins downright weird, and often ridiculously judgmental. I go everywhere, it doesn't matter where I lay my head. The damn island is TINY, why restrict yourself to such a miniscule piece of it. Try living in London, wherever you live you have to travel.

Mike said...

Im afraid of heights. Those buildings would kill me. Some fine art is there.

The Jeffersons lived on the east sisde! One of my favorite sitcoms. I think it is coming on now at 2:30am.

Kitty said...

Hi Fish!
I agree on the whole neighborhood rivalry thing. What I like about it is that is harkens to sense of history and neighborhood pride.

Hi Mike!
Ah the Jeffersons! I should find them on Youtube. I'd love to review the intro to the show, now that I've been living here.

Ruvym said...

Wow, what the deal with all this traffic? You're definitely pulling in the blog-tourists. Blogists? Blogistas? I don't know, I kinds feel I want to make a new word out of that concept.

Haven't been to the Met in years. I should probably go, but I guess I would save it for a date, since I just don't have enough interest in that sort of stuff to go there on my own. I know, I know, what the hell? Well, I'm just not all that into large art museums. I can deal with small Chelsea gallery spaces, getting the chance to walk around, see people, drink some wine. But these behemoths of culture are draining! Plus there's no wine. I'm also a "realist" when it comes to art appreciation, which is why I have an especially hard time with modern art, why I enjoy film and photography, and why I love non-art museums like the Museum of Natural History. Must be my right brainedness.

Still, because of that, I can express genuine and enthusiastic appreciation of your pics, cause they're great. I especially like the two outside the museum, one with the girl going up the stairs and the other with the guy sitting on the siamese pipe connection (at least that's what I think it was). I need to buy a camera already.

Kitty said...

Hey Ruvym
I'm going to suggest you go get a Canon XTi Rebel. It's affordable and a great dSLR.

I know the feeling about the bigger museums, and I wouldn't normally go except for my week off. Just going to the permanent exhibit at the Met is fulfilling enough.
The wine and gallery things are perfect on work nights, aren't they? No obligation, you just pop in and out.

A lot of the newer visitors are thru the Daily Photo sites. It's fun to get visitors from all over the place, but they'll never replace my NY crew!