The Metropolitan Museum of Art is really amazing. I would have spent many days there were it not for the fact that my time in New York was limited and there was so much else to see. It's awesome not just because of the art on display, but also the building in which it is housed and the effort that goes into presenting it. Antique furniture and paintings are used as part of reconstructions of room interiors of the period - from the sitting rooms of French palaces to a Syrian reception room, and a beautiful rood in its element in a stone flagged room complete with pillars and stained glass windows.
There was a minor episode which reinforced a few stereotypes of American people. I was standing before a large painting of the siege of Gibraltar when I had the following conversation with a woman and the small boy she was with.
Boy: What's that?
Woman: It's the siege of Gibraltar.
Boy: Where's Gibraltar?
Woman: I don't know...
Me: It's just to the south of Spain.
Woman: How do you know that?
Obviously at this point various responses occurred to me, "I have an education/basic grasp of geography/not an American" etc, but it's difficult to be rude to a perfectly nice person whose conversation you just intruded into, so I settled on "Because I'm British" which was apparently deemed to be sufficient explanation. After a little more discussion, the small boy asked me if I liked the British.
Woman: Well, he is British.
Boy: No, I mean do you like the British army. (Gestures at the painting)
Woman: Well, that was the British army from a long time ago. I'm not sure...I don't think Britain still have an army, do they?
Yes. Yes we do.
I decided to actually live it up a bit in the big city and went to a club on Friday, which started out fantastically with a live reggae band in the basement, but they were only on for another half hour or so after I arrived. The club was divided in to three floors, with someone DJing some fairly approachable house in the basement, some commercial dance/hip-hop on the first floor, and a massive ballroom on the top floor which housed the main event, which was dubstep or something similar. Now, I fucking hate dubstep, or anything similar, but it appeared that the vast majority of the people in the club were there for exactly that. I could have stuck around for quite a while in the basement were it not for the fact that the floor was almost completely empty most of the time, so I ended up leaving at before 1am, which I view as a shameful time to leave a club. Unfortunately I don't think I can carry a floor on my own and I wasn't going to go and listen to some shit music with a bunch of barely post-pubescent ravers.
I crossed the Brooklyn bridge today, and to get into the spirit of things I listened to the Beastie Boys' "No Sleep Til Brooklyn" as I walked over. It was only a fifteen minute walk so obeying that particular injunction was not too arduous. Brooklyn seemed pretty nice, anyway. As I was walking the streets, and sitting in cafes and restaurants, I kept accidentally eavesdropping on people's dates. I amused myself trying to work out what stage the relationship was at, although apparently I'm terrible at it. I had pegged a couple sitting at the next table as a definite first date based on the formal body language, awkward silences, and terrible menu-based small talk, but then they started discussing how they were going to furnish the apartment they were about to move in to together.
This is my final blog post from foreign lands, as I am getting on a plane back to London tomorrow evening. However, if you care, there's still more to come - I'll be uploading the rest of New York pictures when I have an internet connection that can handle it, and when I have a computer that can handle it I will be editing together a couple of videographic entertainments that I think you'll enjoy.