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Last week, on Saturday October 13, I went on a trip with the German Department to New York City. It was my first time getting out of Massachusetts since I had come here, so I was super excited.That morning was gloomy and rained from time to time, but that didn’t knock my excitement down. At 7:15 a.m, the students got on a bus to go to New York.  When I woke up from my bus nap, buildings and skyscrapers floated past my eyes.

 

My first visit to NYC was in 2014. At the time, I was amazed by the busy streets filled with the sound of honking from the iconic yellow cabs, the conversations of people walking on the street, the diverse mixture of Gothic and modern architecture. And of course, the iconic brownstone buildings. On this second visit, NYC did not fail to steal my heart again.

 

Getting out of the bus, the weather was getting chillier. We waited in line to check in Neue Galerie, which is a museum of early twentieth-century German and Austrian art. Stepping into the museum, I gasped at the checkerboard floor, the white columns, and at the wide curved staircase with its black metal railing, with a touch of intricate ornamental design that led to the exhibitions. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to take photos in the museum. On the first floor, there was a bookstore that focused on publications of German and Austrian architecture and decorative art, as well as Central European cultures, and a design shop offering objects whose designs were inspired by original designs from Biedermeier, Vienna 1900 and the Bauhaus, and by objects in the museum collections.

 The outside of Neue Galerie

The second and the third floor displayed the current exhibitions, which featured artworks from distinguished Austrian and German artists such as Franz Marc, August Macke, Gustav Klimt, and Egon Schiele. My favorite section was Wiener Werkstätte Jewelry, which displayed an assortment of jeweled masterworks by leading artists from Wiener Werkstätte (Viennese Workshops). The jewelry was mostly made of gold and silver embellished with colorful gemstones such as turquoise, lapis lazuli, and agate.  A jewelry piece made by Josef Hoffman, captured my attention. I was drawn to the female standing figure that holds a diamond in the center of the bracelet. The figure was made of ivory, which stood out against the carved floral gold surface.

 

There was a coffee shop called “Café Sabarsky,” which bears the name of the museum’s co-founder Serge Sabarsky. I was told that the waiting line in this coffee shop was really long, though, I did not have to wait at all. The café’s sleek architecture impressed me. The mahogany wall, minimalist marble round tables, and the faint yellow lighting brought a sense of coziness to the coffee shop. I had Kaiser Mélange, an Austrian specialty coffee. The whipped cream on top was warm and fluffy like cotton candy. The skim milk coffee underneath the cream was a true definition of good coffee. It was neither sweet nor bitter, which I thought would be perfect for coffee starters.

 

The weather was sunny and mildly cold when I got out of the museum. I had four hours of free time to explore NYC. My first destination was Central Park, as it was a one-minute walk from Neue Galerie. I took a stroll there, observing the iconic pigeons wandering the park. High blue sky, soft sunshine, amber leaves that still have the green remnant of summer, and a clear lake — the park was truly breathtaking in the fall. I had a Gossip Girl moment when passing by the Bethesda Terrace.

 

After having lunch at a nearby pizza shop with my friends, I went to The Met, and had my first cheese pretzel drip in front of The Met. With only two hours left in NYC, I took another stroll on 5th Avenue on the way back to the museum. Although it was Saturday, the street was busy, and I definitely could feel the fast-paced lives of New Yorkers when jogging on 5th Avenue at 4:00 p.m.

I said goodbye to NYC at 5:00 p.m. Although my time to explore the city was limited, it was still a fun day to discover a European corner in the of the city and the spots I had missed on my first visit to NYC. If you have a chance to visit NYC, do not forget to put Neue Galerie in your bucket list, and take a quick snap at the famous The Met’s stair gate.

Photo Source: X

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Thien An (she/her/hers) is currently a junior at Mount Holyoke College, majoring in English, with a minor in History.
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