Idly paging through some online reviews a couple of weeks ago, my attention was captured by a rather lovely-sounding Gilded Age exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York. A little investigation revealed that they were showing a number of other interesting exhibits too, so we persuaded our latest houseguests to join us in a visit.
Despite this rather self-serving behaviour on our (or, more accurately, my) part, the MCNY actually provides a rather good introduction to the city. They have an excellent 20 minute video overview of New York’s history, then the exhibitions provide more details on various themes – as well as the Gilded Age exhibit they were showing marine paintings, photographs from Hurricane Sandy, a collection of graffiti art, and a detailed multi-media exhibition about various civil rights movements and their activities.
I think we all enjoyed most of the work on display, but certainly for me the Gilded Age was the highlight. It began with a slideshow of rather wonderful photographs of the rich and famous at a series of balls, parties and other entertainments. As you can imagine their outfits were extravagant, decorative, and in some cases quite ridiculous (one particularly special example featured a badly taxidermied cat as a headpiece). A couple of these outfits (though sadly not the cat) were featured in the gallery, along with a selection of accessories, homeware and portraits.
I know I say this about all the museums, but we shall be paying it a return visit very soon. They have an exhibition about tile vaults opening later this month, which I’m especially excited to see, and I really never thought I’d find myself saying that!