How I visited New York City – part 1

New York City – Jan 2012

This is a glimpse into how I always plan & execute my visits to important cities/sites where great art resides.
Great art to me is many things.. but primarily music, paintings, sculpture & architecture.

My  goal is always to maximize experience and having a great time. I do plan very rigidly.. and am truly convinced that spontaneity is ok… as long as it is well planned.

So.. on my planning lists are: Museums, Concerts, “Music related sites”, churches, buildings, … and secondary: hotels, restaurants, bars/pubs..

This article will hopefully contain some tips for travellers visiting NYC

Hard edges:

  • Destination: NYC
  • Time: arrive late Thursday – 19 of January, leave Sunday from Hotel around 1530
  • Hotel: = just had to be – Washington Square Hotel
  • Main focus (decided early on): Bob Dylan’s Greenwich Village, The MET, MoMA, and as much  live music as possible….
  • Social circumstances: four pals as travelling companions, not interested in art.. but did at least (under some mild pressure) join me for the concerts 🙂
  • Movie everbody has to see (again) before visiting NYC: Woody Allen’s – Manhattan

This is how it went..
(everything here was planned upon arrival, except the bonus of some “Sunday Jazz” at our Hotel)

~2300 – @Washington Square Hotel in Greenwich Village
~2400 – at Café Wha? for live music and drinks
House band was OK, played Johnny Cash – Ring of Fire, Stones – Miss You, some U2, A-Ha, Pearl Jam’s Better Man.. +
~0100 – @Bed

~0730 – juice/coffee/beer, plan, meditate, post on JV
~0930 – breakfast @Waverly Restaurant
1100 – 1430 –  The Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
1430 – 1600 – Chrysler building, Grand Central Terminal, “pass by” Empire State building, Flatiron building (great stuff), get some wine & a sandwich
1600 – 1800 – Skyping with wife & kids, listen to music, drink wine & prepare for tonight’s concert
1830 – 2330 – Concert: Robert Earl Keen & Deep Dark Woods at Irving Plaza


~0730 – juice/coffee/wine, plan, meditate, post on JV
~1000 – breakfast @Waverly Restaurant
1100-1230 – Plan/work @Hotel room
1300-1700 – “Bob Dylan’s Village” – a walk in Greenwich Village visiting Bob Dylan related sites -> check out my Google map
1700-1830 – Skyping with wife & kids, wine, music @hotel room
1830-2230 – Concert: Ron Carter, Bill Frisell & Joey Baron playing @ Blue Note
2300- ..  – some drinking

~1000 – breakfast @Waverly Restaurant
1100-1200 Plan/work
1200-1400 MoMA – Museum of Modern Art
1400-1530 Pub, Manhattan Walk & “Sunday Jazz” at our Hotel
1600-> Travel Home


More details:

“How I visit great museums” are really a serious post worth (on a different website).. but a super short version is as follows:

My 2 chosen museums for this visit was The Met & MoMA. Each visit was well planned with 15/32 (details further down in post) pieces of art in each museum carefully chosen for special focus.. lists are generated from my private “art database” (my own application
built for collecting data on artwork) & PDF (chosen format for export) files are stored in Dropbox (makes them available on phone/laptop/ipad etc..)

How do I choose pieces of art to focus on?
Art History books, topical art books, list based art books (1000 greatest.. 999 must know.. etc), articles from different newspapers, websites (it’s a jungle), inspiring & art loving people.. (Thomas Hoving needs a special mention on this particular visit – you should know the reason;-).

..”Isn’t a visit to a great Museum meant to be unplanned.. and all the great art will guide & inspire you..” ?
–  For me.. NO.
This is a fundamental question related to many aspects of our lives. My planning gives me freedom.. my chosen works of art are a guide that helps me optimize my visit. It does NOT restrict me to anything.. its only a path to walk.. I will stop anywhere along this this path and soak up inspiring stuff. I always find lots of great stuff not on my list..

I believe (the always fascinating) Winston Churchill said it best:

For the first twenty-five years of my life, I wanted freedom.
For the next twenty-five years, I wanted order.
For the next twenty-five years, I realized that order is freedom.

luckily I realized that order is freedom at a somewhat younger age 🙂

The MET – The Metropolitan Museum of Art & MoMA – Museum of Modern Art are both considered to be 2 of the worlds 10 best museums.

Both museums contains so much great art… The MET’s collection are overwhelming, If I lived in NYC.. a weekly visit would be a minimum.
The MET is also a fantastic building..

Rembrandt van Rijn – Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer (1653)

My “MET must see list”:

The first column is the room number..

This is a screenshot from a “dataview” in my art database.. sorry for the bad quality (my pdf version looks better.. and I don’t print it.. Galaxy S2 is a great companion during Museum tours..)

MoMA’s collection is not that large (by far), but it’s collection of modern art
(surprise) has no real competitors.
Don’t you dare to miss Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” (considered the birth of modern art).
MoMA has ever changing (great) exhibitions and many interesting shops.

Pablo Picasso – Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907)

MoMA must see list:

part 2 will be posten in a couple of days…

a happy Egil outside a perfectly located Hotel 


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