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The Smartass Guide To New York, Part 4

Another museum day. First, we went to the Museum of Sex. This establishment, only a few years old, wants to bring respectability and intellectual rigor to the study of sexuality in our enlightened age. And sure, they fail almost entirely, but hey. Titties!

The museum has three floors. When we went, the first floor was dominated by an exhibit of unique and odd sex toys. There was little there we has not seen for free in Greenwich Village two nights before. The second floor was a retrospective of sexuality in film. And if you thought your fellow tourists were irritating before, I suggest sitting around watching porno with them. You didn’t know how good you had it.

The final floor contained their core collection of artifacts. While the iron and leather harness that was used to keep young boys from masturbating was fairly interesting, the level still contained about ten feet of interesting stuff in fifty feet of museum.

Don’t go. Or, if you absolutely must see smut in a museum environment, go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and look for the naked statues. Some of them Roman chicks was hawt.

Then we took a quick spin through the famed New York Public Library (main branch). It is full of marble pillars and gigantic glorious halls, unblemished by the tawdry presence of mere books. This makes sense. When it was originally built, oh so long ago, there were only twelve books in existence, and eight of them were the Bible. Now the place is an amusing artifact from the days when Wikipedia didn’t contain all knowledge. Oh, and there are two statues of lions out front. Because you totally don’t know what a lion looks like.

Then we went to the Paley Center for Media, formerly the Museum of Television and Radio. The main feature here is the ability to select from a library of 70000 TV and radio recordings, from the Moon landing to Monty Python, and have them shown to you on demand. This was really cool before YouTube and DVDs were invented. Now it is an embarrassment.

How horribly behind the rest of reality is it? Well, their gift shop only sells video tapes. Video tapes! Seriously. Do not go here.

Then we went to dinner at Balthazar, an old-school French bistro much beloved by the natives. If you are in New York and want to go for a twofer and feel like you are in Paris for an hour, go here. The food is solid. The only problem was that they had attendants in the bathroom. Old people might get off on this sort of thing, but I find someone staring at my back while I pee to be extremely creepy. My wife refused to go to the bathroom at all, and I can’t blame her.

Then we went to Lincoln Center for a performance of the Bacchae, an ancient Greek tragedy. It was a spectacular production from Scotland, that had been brought over to New York for a week. I won’t say anything about it. It’s gone, after all. But it does illustrate one of the great things about New York.

There are fantastic things happening all the time. If someone in the world comes up with something cool, it gets brought to New York for a few days. Then it leaves and is replaced by the next wonder. This is one of the key things that separates New York from the feculent, hairy asshole of a town you live in.

Finally, since it was next door, we explored the Time Warner Center. This is a mall by Columbus Circle, at the southwest corner of Central Park. It is, perhaps, the most expensive, spectacular mall you ever see. It has an art gallery with pieces that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Per Se, a restaurant that charges $275 a seat, before drinks and tips. And Masa, a restaurant next door that charges $400 per person. A store that sells belt buckles made of mammoth ivory. (That’s right. Mammoths. The extinct ones.) Two towers looming above it contain the most expensive hotel rooms and condos you could ever envision. They even have a Whole Foods.

Every once in a while, it is nice to be reminded what a peasant you are. You ever say how money can’t buy happiness? Well, I bet you’ve said a lot of other stupid things too.

Still haven’t seen a celebrity. I think New York is broken. Is there anyone I could call?

Back to part 3

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