I only had one goal today – visit the MoMA. My pal wanted to watch a Filipino movie, Insiang, which was screening at 4 pm, and we had to also work out the logistics of switching hotels, so we decided that MoMA will be an afternoon thing.
We spent our morning in midtown, where I looked for a cafe to do some work before lunch. After using the iPhone’s feature of locating cafes nearby, I wound up at Caffe Bene in Koreatown, which is quite a Korean cafe, with a bakery attached. It has quite a lot of seating, and if you like window seats like I do, there are some little tables by the window, and a big co-working table near the window as well. The cafe au lait was ~$2.50. I thought it was a bit too acidic, but drinkable. In the late morning, we headed to Wholefoods to grab some of their pre-packaged food for lunch, and enjoyed our early lunch on the steps of the New York Post Office facing the Madison Square Garden, as it was another glorious, sunny, crisp New York fall day, after which, I decided to try my luck checking in early (~noon, regular check in time: 3 pm) at the newly-opened Holiday Inn Times Square. We lucked out, so we got checked in early, and rolled round the corner to check out of Holiday Inn Express Times Square, making the hotel transition seamless.
In the afternoon, we started the trek on foot to MoMA on 6th ave and W 53rd st. MoMA entrance costs $14 for students (with valid ID) and $25 for adults, but they also offer free entrance on Fridays, from 4 pm – 8 pm. My friend strongly advised against us taking up on the free deal, but if you don’t mind the Fall crowds (it’s worse in summer) in MoMA, that could be a way to save some money. I ponied up $25.
I actually enjoyed the temporary exhibition on Joaquin Torres-Garcia the most. Joaquin Torres-Garcia is an Uruguayan artist, who uses a lot of symbols in his paintings. They involve a lot of color blocks, and global symbols, e.g. shapes, numbers, letters. Some of the labels/explanations are strangely placed, e.g. you only read about that period, after you see the paintings, but otherwise, the MoMA app/complimentary audio guide is actually a good way to enjoy the experience. We also visited the more famous works of the modern art on the 5th story (Ganguin, Monet, Van Gogh, etc) before we ran out of time, and had to catch Insiang (as an aside, Insiang is one disturbing movie). After rolling out of MoMA in the evening, we decided to try one of the food trucks, a variation of the Halal Guys. There are like four of them around that junction, two of which have a long line. Apparently, a couple of them are knock offs, but according to this article, the difference isn’t that great. We went with the one with no line, and got ourselves a ridiculously generous portion chicken and gyros over a bed of rice for $7. We walked to Central Park with our take out, and enjoyed our dinner at Central Park, with some fireworks in the background, before taking a leisurely stroll back to our hotel.
I ended my night with the usual horrible, White Castle, which was just one street from our hotel. It is nasty, but I had to do it, just because. 🙂 That sums up my perfect weekend at NYC.
Food: $19 (Lunch: $8, Dinner: $7, White Castle: $4)
MoMA Entry fee: $25
Hotel: $70 + 25000 IHG points
Total: $116.50 + 25000 IHG points