“Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.”
The stores here might seem expensive, but the Upper East Side is priceless. Master thieves must dream about the jewels and artworks strewn along Fifth Avenue's Museum Mile, from the Frick Collection's salons to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum's snail-shaped gallery. The Metropolitan Museum of Art's 2 million artifacts showcase civilization's finer moments, from the ancient Egyptian Temple of Dendur facing Central Park to Alexander McQueen's alien gowns at the Met Costume Institute. For aspiring artists, the most valuable real estate in America is a spot on the wall at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Careers are made overnight for the 50-odd artists selected for the Whitney Biennial, held in even-numbered years. The Jewish Museum puts 26,000 prized objects into cultural perspective, including works by Man Ray and Marc Chagall. The latest addition to Museum Mile is Neue Gallerie, featuring Expressionist artists from Germany and Austria. Stock up on masterpieces at Sotheby's, followed by drinks stiff enough to cure sticker shock at Auction House. To shake off those museum legs, take a carriage ride through Central Park or hit the courts at Asphalt Green, a 1941 factory creatively repurposed as a sports facility. The Upper East Side's best bargain is the 92nd Street Y, with its vast swimming pool, 2,000-plus community arts classes, and lectures in the auditorium.