The Metropolitan Museum of Art's four-block-long building, located in Central Park, functions as a time capsule, preserving hundreds of thousands of paintings, sculptures, and artifacts that collectively demonstrate mankind's finest achievements. Founded in 1870 to bring fine art closer to the general public, the Museum has since become a means of exploring worldwide cultures through their art. Today, it fills two million square feet of space with pieces that represent civilizations across the globe.
With more than 400 galleries open to the public, seeing all the Museum has to offer is more of a lifetime achievement than an afternoon commitment. Paintings by preeminent artists such as Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh draw huge crowds, but unexpected treasures await those willing to dig deeper. One collection of galleries features the world’s most comprehensive collection of American paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts. Another, equally compelling—and newly reopened—collection is devoted to intricate Islamic artwork from as far westward as Spain and Morocco and as far eastward as Central Asia and India. It's also impossible to overlook the galleries of Egyptian art and its approximately 26,000 artifacts, making it the largest collection of its kind outside Cairo.
The Met’s collection is so expansive that it cannot fit entirely in its Fifth Avenue location. Travel to Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan, and you'll find the Museum's collection of reassembled cloisters, which opened to the public in 1938. These beautiful medieval structures currently house around 2,000 manuscripts, tapestries, and stained-glass artworks largely dating from the 12th century through the 15th century. Three of the cloisters even feature gardens planted in accordance with medieval tradition.
Like the chimera of legend, The Juicy Naam stitches together an unlikely anatomy, though in this case it comprises multiple business models rather than the limbs of deadly creatures. The owners put part of their focus into a juice bar and catering business, feeding clients both on site and off smoothies and superfoods designed to elicit long-lasting feelings of health. They supplement this with liquid cleanses, in which health coaches guide participants through up to seven days of consuming nothing but fresh-squeezed, organic juices. The final aspect of their business focuses on the use of the body rather than its intake, by providing bodywork, yoga, and meditatively-focused services.
Candy comes in every color at Chocolate Works NYC, where the rainbow of confectionery pairs naturally with the sunny dispositions of those who roam the store’s aisles. Hints of red peek out from chocolate-dipped strawberries, jordan almonds model this season’s pastels, and self-serve bins nearly burst with Jelly Belly jellybeans. Wrapped in shimmering foil or cellophane, kosher truffles and edible replicas of famous paintings momentarily distract eyes from a chocolate fountain, which bubbles into a rich brown pool framed by a marzipan “No Swimming” sign.
Headlined by master chocolatier Joe Whaley and Pretzels by Jill’s Jill Frechtman, an all-star cast of instructors takes the helm during the shop’s signature candy-making classes. Among other delicious, hands-on lessons, teachers demonstrate how to swathe pretzels in Belgian chocolate at an old-fashioned enrobing machine. Kids also learn how to dip, mold, and decorate during one-hour workshops and birthday parties that teem with edible crafts and sugary confetti.
Insomnia Cookies began as a project to feed fresh-baked cookies to hungry college students who spend the wee hours studying, partying, or studying parties for an anthropology course. Baked bounty is stored in a chocolate-brown box topped with a satin ribbon. Inside, your mother, father, or long-lost identical twin will discover 40 deliciously soft cookies in an assortment of signature flavors, which include chocolate chunk, snickerdoodle, white-chocolate macadamia, double-chocolate chunk, M&M, oatmeal raisin, and peanut butter. Include a message in the complimentary greeting card, or leave it blank as a haunting memento to the delicious flavors words cannot express.
Georgia’s Cafe and Bakery delivers indulgent European-influenced bistro fare and a variety of baked goods. Dining duos will savor the first notes of house red or white wine (a $10 value per glass) as chefs summon fire nymphs from kitchen grills to unleash upon entrees (a $14–$25 value), such as the lamb chops imbued with a tangy honey mustard punch and flanked by steaming sides of mushrooms and grilled asparagus (a $25 value). Blackened tilapia (a $19 value) or shrimp and grits (a $21 value) appear on behalf of surf with a succulent combination of deep southern flavors. Free-range roasted chicken keeps vegetable company with shitake mushrooms and swiss chard (a $19 value), and each entrée arrives resting beside a choice of mashed spuds or sweet potato mash.
The rounds experts at Bagels & Co. slake breakfast and lunchtime cravings with freshly baked bialys, bagels, and kosher-certified items, including pizza slices and a rotating menu of chef specialties. Guests can slather 13 bagel flavors with traditional or gourmet spreads, such as walnut and raisin cream cheese or flavored tofu. Bagels & Co.'s credibility lies in its impressive spread of quality ingredients—boasting deli-style cheese slices and fresh cuts of salmon—and correct usage of the ampersand.