Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Museo del Barrio + Central Park

Last weekend we went into the city and took a stroll to the newly re-opened Museo del Barrio and the Museum of the City of New York, right at the start of Museum Mile.

Right across the street from the museums is Central Park. I'd never seen the northernmost tip of the park, so that was new for me.

A bit further down past the lake is the Conservatory Garden, which is apparently the only formal garden in Central Park. I later learned that the gate you have to pass through to enter was originally the entrance to the Vanderbilt Mansion at Fifth Avenue and 58th Street (the current site of Bergdorf-Goodman). Wish I'd thought to take a picture of that.

The garden is named for a glass conservatory that was once in the same spot, where many of the shrubs and trees that were later planted in the park were first cultivated. The conservatory was torn down in 1934 due to the high cost of maintenance, and replaced with the garden that same year.

It seems that in warmer months it is blooming with many varieties of plant life, such as heirloom roses, daffodils, and tulips, but we did not see any of that.

While I do enjoy the look of these twisted bare trees, I'll bet the garden is a lovely place to visit in the spring and summer, when everything is in full bloom.

We did eventually make it to the museums, and I must report that the Museo del Barrio had some pretty awesome orange chairs in their courtyard and cafeteria. They were also serving some of the best food I've ever eaten in a museum cafeteria*. (Oh yeah, and the exhibits were good too.) It was so crowded inside that I unfortunately didn't get to sit in the orange chairs but I won't hold it against them.

*Actually, now that I think about it I recall MoMA having some pretty good sorbet in the summer.

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