A Room with a View

By Elias Rodriguez

New York City had approximately 50 million visitors in 2010. What is your favorite place to visit in the Big Apple? There is a spot that I’d like to recommend. Growing up in Manhattan had its perks, though when you are a child it is often difficult to fully appreciate the ephemeral joys of prosaic pleasures. One cultural gem that one never outgrows is the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Located at 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, the museum is world renowned and has been featured in an endless parade of books and movies. A new visitor could easily get lost in the gargantuan gateway to the past. Unlike the newer exhibits and refurbished spaces which dot the iconic institution, one space people never tire of entering is the panoramic view of the Palace and Gardens of Versailles. It is a circular oil painting situated within a huge round room within the American wing of the museum. The carefully lit room can hardly contain the outdoor scene that features an early New Yorker’s perspective, John Vanderlyn (1775–1852), of a palace in France.  The four seasons, no matter how out of whack the climate seems these days, are not a factor when you immerse yourself in the colors and opaque observations of this master draftsman. Walk on thorough, sit for a while or stare in silence. 

I don’t usually visit this room immediately upon visiting the museum preferring instead to build up the suspense! Around the time my feet and vision are weary, I head for my favorite artwork. The painting conveys you to another time and place. The expansive sky, majestic palace, manicured lawn and curious pedestrians appear as indescribable delights. Although the world visits New York, I find it very comforting to know that I can vicariously voyage to Versailles anytime I visit. What’s your favorite NYC space?