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Trip Report NYC Weekend - a couple of museums worth a visit plus breakfast

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After too many quick jaunts to NYC just to hit up some museum exhibitions at haunts we'd already visited a million times before, we finally went to two we'd not been to, and I thought them worthy of a recommendation here as I'd not seen them mentioned here in recent memory.

Morgan Library and Museum - at 36th and Madison. This is a private collector's library with his own holdings but also revolving exhibitions from elsewhere. When we were here, there were fabulous exhibits on Edgar Allen Poe, Italian drawings by Tiepolo and Guardi, a da Vinci traveling exhibit from Turin (drawings including a study for Madonna on the Rocks and the Vitruvian man), JD Salinger letters and the Booker Prize. I think this is one of the museums I could keep going back to, because even while the permanent collections are interesting and the library is just gorgeous, all of the artifacts of the permanent collection on view as well as the traveling exhibitions seem to change quite frequently. Each exhibition was of comfortable size so that I wasn't at all museumed out by any of them; it was a delightful Sunday morning spent there. This is now a must on my NYC visit list.

Hispanic Society of America -- way uptown on West 155th street. We took a cab, which was 20 minutes and about $30 each way, but were well rewarded by this visit. The claim to fame is the Sorolla "Visions of Spain" in the museum's largest room...a room of 360 degrees of murals by the Spanish Impressionist Sorolla from when he was commissioned to paint representations of his visions of Spain. They are breathtaking. Upstairs there are a few more Sorollas, some handsome Velazquez, Goya, Ribera and the crème de la crème, gorgeous El Grecos. The Holy Family of his that is there is exquisite. We were also surprised to find two by John Singer Sargent there, one a copy from when he was copying Spanish masters at the Prado, and another Spanish Dance which is similar to El Jaleo at the Gardner here in Boston.

Finally for breakfast we tried Norma's at Le Parker Meridien. I'd seen this covered on the Food Network flipping through the channels a few weeks ago and reserved a spot based on that. While the menu is diverse and extremely creative, it is very high priced. I'm fine paying $25 for my designer French toast or Eggs Benedict (which was quite excellent and overly filling) but not $9 for OJ or $15 for a small pot of coffee or tea. I'd probably go again to try another entrée, but I'd stick to water or split a pot of coffee with my travel companion instead to keep the bill under $100 (with tip) for two people.

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