This was the day Central Park hit 103 degrees and nearly took us with it. We decided to attempt an agenda which in retrospect was lunacy, but which was fun until that last 40 minute trek across the park.

Each of our museums held some significance – the Natural History Museum because of Holden Caulfield’s breakdown, the Met because it is the biggest, which really matters in New York, and the Guggenheim because I’ve looked at photos of the building for decades and imagined climbing that fabled ramp.

Loved the AMNH: the atrium with it’s solar system theatre suspended like a planet four stories high was stunning, but so was the old entrance with its memorial to Teddy Roosevelt. This was certainly a day for confronting America’s tradition of private benevolence – along with a lot of other New York characteristics that I’ll need to sit on he plane and think about.

There was no way we could do more than marvel at the range of exhibits. The anthropology seemed a little dated at times, but we enjoyed the section on North-west Indian peoples, having just come from there. More recent exhibits were excellent in their defence of biodiversity and arguing for personal response to climate change – all good messages for the munchkins on summer camp who swarmed around the museum and who’s yellow school buses clogged the surrounding streets.

Note: without suggesting anything racist, we have been amazed at the number of African-America nannies taking their charges around. While we are sure that blacks are increasingly represented in more wealthy parts of society, here was real evidence that they remain over-represented among the poorer people of the city.

We left for a stinking hot walk across the park to the Met. We didn’t try to cram too much in, but did manage a great Picasso exhibition and good recent photography, as well as a wonderful display of dresses to illustrate the American Woman. This was quite amazing in documenting all those social and cultural changes in the image of womanhood in America in the last 120 odd years. So the question remains: given the remodeling of the American woman by the turn of the 20th Century, why did it take so long for women to achieve suffrage in the States?

We shopped joyously at the Museum shop and then agreed to look at the Guggenheim, which Paula could not visualise from my description. We marveled at the ramped design and the range of imagery displayed: the design in simply extraordinary in it’s ability to set up each artwork and give some sense of continuity and connection.
We then has to stagger back through the park and it nearly did for us. Notwithstanding our evening’s engagement on Broadway, we napped for an hour before hitting the subway for “Promises, Promises”, about which more later.

We were quite wrecked by today, but three cheers for Paula’s ankle which did us all proud!