Rainy Day New York

A Shot in the Rain: New York City

Anne LaTarte and Stephanie Gunther shelter themselves from a sudden shower on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY.  Photo by Kayte Deioma

A Rainy Day in ….New York City

Sarah, Becca and Derick on the Empire State Building Observation DeckMy nieces, Becca (9) and Sarah (7), wanted to visit American Girl Place in New York, so being the accommodating aunt that I am, I organized a trip to take them to the big city. Their mother, my sister Ellie, and their big brother Derick (16), also came along, so we tried to fit in activities that would appeal to all ages.

New York City is the number one most visited city in the United States. Some of its most famous landmarks, like the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and Central Park are great activities for a clear day. However, if theStatue of Liberty temperatures are above freezing, you could encounter a rain at any time of the year, and escaping the winter cold and summer heat, are equally good reasons for planning some indoor activities.

There are certainly plenty of options for staying out of the weather, from world class museums and monuments to amazing shopping, scintillating nightlife and, of course, the most famous live theatre district in the world.

To develop your contingency plan to escape indoors in New York, come along with us on a virtual visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the NBC Studio Tour, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, nights out on and off Broadway, and of course, American Girl Place.

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Rainy Day New York

A Taste of Art: A Bite-Size Visit to the Met

For more rainy day New York alternatives, check out the New York Rainy Day Links page.

A Taste of Art: A Bite-Size Visit to the Met

story and photos by Kayte Deioma

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world’s largest and finest museums. Ironically, that’s why I hadn’t visited it in any of my previous trips to New York. I felt that a great art museum like the Louvre, the Prado or the Met deserves a full day to really appreciate its collections, and I’ve never stayed in New York long enough at one time to be willing to devote a whole day to one activity.

The Metropolitan Museum of ArtSince I was in New York this time with my sister and her kids, I decided that it was more important for the kids to get a taste of great art than to worry about not having time to see the whole thing, and thereby miss everything. We didn’t expect the kids to have the patience to stay in a museum more than a couple hours anyway.

I was much more relaxed once I gave myself permission to miss lots of wonderful stuff.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is located in a massive Gothic-Revival building on Fifth Avenue along the western edge of Central Park. After getting our tickets, we went to the information booth in the center of the Great Hall to find out if there were any family programs scheduled that day. It was a Saturday, and we were in luck with a “Hello, Met!” family introduction to the museum scheduled an hour later.

With just an hour for exploration on our own, we chose to start with the Egyptian exhibit, with the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts outside Cairo.

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Becca takes the audio tour through the Egyptian exhibit at the Met.We rented the audio tour headsets, which I don’t usually do on my own, but it turned out to be great for the kids. It was easier for the younger ones than reading the information panels. As we moved through the colorful sarcophagi, carved limestone monuments and painted hieroglyphics, they really enjoyed punching in the numbers and having control over which descriptions they heard. There wasn’t a child-friendly version of the tour like there is some places, but they seemed to do just fine.

Becca was somewhat selective in which pieces she wanted to learn more about, but Sarah could have spent all day “listening to stories” and didn’t appreciate being hurried to keep up.

We hadn’t made it much farther than the maze of corridors through the Tomb of Perneb – a part original, part reconstruction of a 4300 year-old Egyptian burial chamber – when it was time to head downstairs to the family program.

The Hello, Met! Family Program

The "Hello, Met!" family program at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.We met the rest of the families downstairs in the Uris Center for Education. After a brief introduction, our guide, Amir Parsa, took us back upstairs to the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas. We all settled on the floor in front of a glass case lined with carved wooden masks from Mali. After a brief Q and A about the use of masks around the world, we learned more about these Dogon Masks, used in mourning dances several years after the person died.

The "Hello, Met!" family program at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.We moved around the corner to Papua New Guinea to study more masks and spirit boards from the temporary exhibit “Coaxing the Spirits to Dance: Art of the Papuan Gulf.” After studying the intricately carved and painted spirit boards and learning how art and culture go hand in hand, children and parents were given paper and pencils to copy their favorite board designs, or create their own.

Our last stop on the Hello, Met tour was in the Modern Art wing, where our guide used a series of Jacob Lawrence paintings to talk about shapes and colors before distributing colored pencils and letting the budding artists get back to work, either coloring their spirit boards or creating something new.

Becca and Sarah make wishes in the fountain in the Greek and Roman exhibit at the Met.After our hour-long journey into art appreciation, we planned our exit route to take in the new Greek and Roman sculpture exhibit in the sky-lit Leon Levy and Shelby White Court. The atrium, populated with Roman statues from the first century BC to the third century AD, was a great preview for Derick, who would soon be setting off on an excursion to Italy.

The girls took the opportunity to throw a coin in the fountain and make a wish. They wouldn’t reveal their wishes. Maybe, like Trevi, it was a wish that will bring them back to the Met someday.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street
New York, New York 10028-0198
General Information: 212-535-7710

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is included in the NYC Go Select Pass and the NYC Explorer Pass.

Reviews of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

From Broadway to Blue Men

story by Kayte Deioma

On Broadway

Broadway through Time Square, New York, NYYear’s ago, I took some of my siblings to see Blood Brothers on Broadway during a weekend getaway to the city. They only went along to humor me. There was a universal attitude among them of “What’s the big deal? We’ve seen lots of plays.” After the performance, my sister Ellie looked at me with her eyes still lit up and said, “Now I get why you love Broadway!”

It’s a completely different phenomenon than community and professional theatre across the country. You’ll see it in the caliber of the performances, the size of the venues and the energy that comes from having so much of a good thing all in one place.

Even seeing a Broadway touring company with the original cast is not the same as seeing the show on Broadway. The tours usually perform in massive auditoriums and concert halls with 2,000 to 3,500 seats. Most theatres on Broadway are relatively small in comparison, with 580 to 1000 seats. Even the largest Broadway theatre, the Gershwin, seats a mere 1,900 people. So when you see a show on Broadway, it’s more intimate, and more vibrant, than when you see the same show on the road.

On my recent trip to the Big Apple with Ellie and her three kids, we wanted to find just the right The Lion King on Broadwayproduction to introduce them to the magic of Broadway.

Theatre has become much more accessible for kids with Disney now having half a dozen productions on Broadway. As wonderful as The Lion King may be, I wanted the kids to see a musical that was fresh content, not created from a movie they had seen a dozen times. I was also looking for something that wasn’t based on a bunch of old hit songs. That seems to be the craze of the last decade.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling BeeI was looking for something more original, where the story and music would be fresh and new, so we’d have no preconceptions. Ellie and I agreed on the award winning musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” playing at the 623-seat Circle in the Square. Even though the age recommendation was 10 and up, we decided the content looked innocuous enough, and our 7 and 9-year olds are relativelyThe 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee sophisticated.

Fortunately, the song My Unfortunate Erection – lamenting why the character Chip was distracted and missed his spelling word – went pretty much over the girls’ heads. It also took a little while for them to realize that they weren’t supposed to understand the crazy spelling words. Nevertheless, they were captivated by this live production, that took place not only on the stage, but had characters roaming among the crowd, and audience members roped into being contestants in the spelling bee. The 16-and-over members of our group found it hilarious.

An Off-Broadway Staple: The Blue Man Group

Blue Man GroupIn addition to the Broadway experience, another New York original production that’s worth a visit, especially when traveling with kids, is the Blue Man Group. This New York spectacle is still better in the 300-seat Astor Place Theatre in the Big Apple than at any of its giant spin-off homes around the world.

If you’re sitting in the first few rows, you may feel the need to don the complimentary rain ponchos to protect yourself from the potential paintBlue Man Groupspattered with the beat of a drum or spit skillfully onto a canvas. They manage to keep most of the mess miraculously on stage, but some flying substance that bore a strong resemblance to macaroni and cheese did manage to reach Becca in the fifth row. She was blissfully clad in plastic, so she was immune to the yuck factor.

The zany rhythmic antics of the mute blue-headed trio of Blue Man Group kept our whole crew mesmerized and laughing with delight from beginning to end.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Circle in the Square
235 W 50th St/1633 Broadway
New York, NY 10019

Blue Man Group
Astor Place Theatre
434 Lafayette Street
New York, NY
(212) 254-4370 or (212) 307-4100

Read more Reviews of Blue Man Group on Tripadvisor.com.