Dec 20th, 2014 – After visiting the Museum for African Art and El Museo Del Barrio, Lela and I embarked on a mission to finish half of the nine stops from our NYC walking tour, and in just one day. We knew we only had one day left before we both went back to our home states, so we knew we had to pack in at least 2 more museums by the end of the day. Fighting crowds and traffic was difficult at times, but fortunately for us, our NYC walking tour had all of the stops within a half mile radius. After grabbing lunch at a pizza-by-the-slice street vendor nearby, we proceeded to the next stop on the Museum Mile Festival Tour provided to us by my Kamino walking tours app.
The Museum of the City of New York was something that I have been dying to go to for a very long time. My ancestry itself hails back to the days of our founding fathers, from the colonial days in Jamestown, VA, to the manufacturing age of New York City, New York. Deep within the roots of New York lies Lela’s descending lineage of mill/factory workers. Together, we bound our hands together in excitement, as we waited for their Timescape exhibit. Once we got in and sat down, we witnessed the imagery of the show on 3 multimedia screens. It began with the settlement of a few hundred Native Americans, Europeans and Africans. This assembly of cultures transcends time and still holds true in today’s atmospherically-diverse livelihood of races and origins within New York City.
Then, for a quick treat on our way out, we saw the Jefferson Letters exhibit, which was “all-the-rave.” It took us 35 minutes in line before we could finally get close enough to see this never-before seen exhibit of Thomas Jefferson’s correspondence to Robert R. Livingston. Even though we had to keep the line moving and only had a few minutes of observation, we were in complete awe with what we saw.
Next stop was 1109 5th Avenue, which was only a few blocks away. The Jewish Museum was something that neither of us had even heard of before, but were extremely curious about. When we first arrived, we didn’t know what to expect, so we simply asked about what exhibitions were on display before we decided to pay a ticket. The assistant we spoke with told us about their Masterpieces & Curiosities: A Russian-American Quilt exhibit. Seeing that Lela is an enthusiastic quilter, her eyes lit up like the Macey’s Day Parade.
Before entering, I noticed a film-based exhibit to the left, which seemed like a fun thing to do. This is where Lea and I immediately split. She went off to the quilt-based exhibit and from what I heard later, she loved it and she wished she could have taken a quilt home with her. As for me, I watched a fictionalized accounting of the ‘As from Afar’ short video installation by Dani Gal. I was more than captivated with the plot and story of the film, as it followed the relationship between Simon Wiesenthal, who hunted Nazis, and Albert Speer, Hitler’s chief architect and armaments minister. This museum was one of the most fun things to do in NYC, period!
After exploring both of these museums, time had unfortunately ran-out in the day. Seeing that these museums were closing because of their regular business hours, we decided to walk-it-back to the hotel, but not before encountering a live jazz bar, which we couldn’t stop ourselves from entering! Even though this is Part 2 of a series of epic experiences and fun things to do in NYC, it was more than memorable!
Matthew McMillan is a loving and caring husband and father of two beautiful children. He travels and writes for his profession, helping to create better experiences for future travelers and future writers.