After his successful 2012 release, “Secret New York,” T. M. Rives personally requested Museum Hack to be included in his new book “Secret New York: Curious Activities.”
“It draws on the knowledge of savvy locals to guide the reader towards unusual and authentic activities… [and] goes so far as to unearth a bunch of things to do which are so unusual that even true locals won’t have heard of most of them.” -Condé Naste Traveler
Rives CRAMS his new book FULL of oft-overlooked activities to see and do in New York City, check out our spread!
“Museum as fine dining experience”
The Metropolitan Museum has six times as much art as the Louvre. It spans 5,000 years of creative history, covers 2 million square feet, and is visited by 137 quazillion people a year, most of whom seem to have grown up on the day you decide to go there yourself. “There’s no way to see it in a few hours,” says Mark Rosen, guide for Museum Hack. His solution: don’t try. “You should treat a museum like you do a find dining experience,” he says to a group gathered in the museum’s Great Hall. “What we want to do is show you our version of the tasting menu: the craziest, sexiest, coolest, weirdest things that you’d probably never think that this place has.”
This, then, is “hacking”: using the august grounds of the Met as a portal to more personal, and in some cases highly individual sights. If you do this already as a matter of habit, you might not need the reminder, but it’s informative to see someone else’s list of strange hits. Take the rococo interior in the European Decorative Arts wing; among the preserved furniture and paneled walls, there’s a strange little structure in turquoise velvet and trimmed in gold. It’s a dog kennel. What’s more, it’s the kennel of Marie Antoinette’s toy spaniel Thisbe. What’s even more, this was the same freaked-out Thisbe she was carrying on her glum march to the guillotine. “The dog survived,” notes Rosen. Among the American portrait miniatures – tiny, sometimes incredibly detailed watercolor paintings on ivory – there is a pastoral scene fashioned entirely from human hair. Many Met lovers will be surprised to learn that there’s a section called Visible Storage where objects not on official show are lined up on miles of shelves, like the world’s most fascinating IKEA. Rosen navigates this warren to an “easy chair” made in Philadelphia around 1800. The tag notes the “mahogany and pine with original muslin-covered foundation,” but skips the most arresting detail: a tin chamber pot connected under the seat. The chair is a plush, wing-backed toilet. Rosen: “A Met publication says that many if not most easy chairs at this time had chamber pots.”
Then it’s off to one of the less familiar corners to wonder at a walking sick that transforms into a flute, that then further transforms into an oboe, and is made from a pearly striated substance. It’s one of only two intact narwhal-tusk musical instruments in the world. Think about that for a second. Then come back another day to see Van Gogh’s cypresses or the temple of Dendur.
Grab your copy, book a tour, and scale NYC like a pro!