Lincoln Center is the home of the Metropolitan Opera House. If you are interested in overly dramatic people, there is no better place to go. I was never an opera fan growing up, my interests tended toward southern rock, a little disco, and in my protest years, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. But as I get older, I seem to be developing an appreciation for the opera. Why you ask? Let me explain.
First off, the sets are absolutely amazing. I mean if the set designers were put to the task of building homes for the homeless, it would be Problem Solved! Secondly, if you miss what’s going on in the opera, no worries, because they will repeat the main theme about a hundred times. I guess when they first were writing operas, the masses had no social media, so they had to make sure that everybody got the message. Third, for the most part, operas are morality plays with very forceful singing. The bad guys always die in the end, and sometimes so do the good guys, just to make it over-the-top dramatic.
If you go, and you should at least once in your life, get tickets that say terre pare. Those are seats that are basically in boxes above the orchestra. Very cool. Think Lincoln. Secondly, operas are not that expensive because no one goes anymore. Last time I went, the place was half empty. Better than paying $1500 to see Bruce Springsteen sing Broadway songs we all know. Go see someone sing songs you don’t know for one tenth the price. Oh, and here’s the other thing, these operas are typically written by Germans who write in Italian with settings in France and Spain. But don’t worry, every seat has a teleprompter translating each song for you in real time.
If you are going to grab something to eat, don’t eat there, it’s expensive, the food isn’t that good, and the waiters and waitresses must be struggling, well, opera singers.
Now at the other end of the spectrum is jazz. If you are not a jazz aficionado, think about giving it a try. But where you say? Well, the Blue Note on West 3rd Street is the quintessential New York jazz club and they get big names in the field. But the tables are tight, you need to eat there, and it might be a little expensive.
A lesser known place, where it is less expensive, but the jazz is excellent, is Birdland on West 44th Street. This place gets lesser known talents, but the musicians are excellent, and the venue is very hip. I would give this place a try. They have big bands, piano playing trios, salsa, and traditional jazz combos. Check them out online and plan a little adventure.
If it’s art you’re interested in, I hope you know that we have access to the most terrific museum in the world — The Met! It’s on par with the Louvre in Paris or the Uffizi in Florence. Hopefully, you’ve been there before but, if not, head up to 82nd Street and Fifth Avenue and give yourself a treat. If you think you might go several times, become a member of the Met. It’s not that expensive, and if you do, get the membership with evening hours. Because with membership comes benefits, like you don’t pay to get into the Met, ever. Sprinkled around the Met are cool places to eat that only members can enter. And if you bring someone with you, your guest is included. And you will feel so cool.
Oh, and the museum is par excellence. If you love European painters, or American painters, or sculptors, or Greek and Roman art, or Far East art, this is the place for you. But it is very big, and you can’t experience it all in one day. You need a plan when you go, and maybe you need to plan a few days. So, think about the membership, it helps.
So, there are four New York gems for your consideration, try one, try them all. You live in the greatest city in the world, be a tourist here.