We visited the city over four nights in early May. We were lucky with the weather and our timing was good in that schools had not yet released their students. We flew into JFK and took the SkyTrain to Jamaica station, in Queens. From there we used one of the great engineering achievements that no one has heard of:… The station at Grand Central has lots of good design ideas, including this simple one. It is still a thrill to emerge in Grand Central Terminal (not "Station.") Opened way back in 1913, it still is the third busiest North American train station,… We have enjoyed the Belvedere Hotel on recent trips, a solid, 1926 structure on west 48th Street. It was built to take advantage of the old Madison Square… We lucked out with our view. Some day, I'll compile an album of pictures of New York water towers. The American Museum of Natural History sits in Theodore Roosevelt Park, a wonderful refuge. As a boy, TR built a prodigious collection of natural specimens. He… The Richard Gilder Center of the museum opened just a few weeks before our arrival. It connects ten buildings and was constructed by spraying structural… Actually, I was more drawn to the old-fashioned and sometimes dusty dioramas. Just how new is virtual reality, really? A longtime NY objective for me is the small shop of the Sturgeon King on Amsterdam Avenue. After a false start (closed on Mondays!) we finally made it. Here I… Barney Greengrass is a remarkably unpretentious shrine. The store opened in 1908 and is currently run by the third generation of Greengrasses. Our next stop was the New York Public Library. NYPL's history is complicated as it grew from private collections opened to the public by John Jacob Astor and… Finding space for a gigantic library in New York was an issue. Fortunately, the 4 acre above-ground Croton reservoir at 42d and 5th Avenue was torn down in the… The plans called for a reading room the length of a football field atop seven stories of stacks. The elevation protected readers from the cacophony of the city… In 1926, Christopher Robin Milne celebrated his first birthday and received a toy bear from his father, A.A. Milne, who had purchased it at Harrods Department… That evening, we went to the Metropolitan Opera to see Don Giovanni, a three hour production. The first Met Opera house was opened in 1883 on Broadway and 39th… In addition to the opera itself, we enjoyed taking it all in, including watching the elite at preperformance supper on the balcony. A caviar appetizer alone… The boxy exteriors of David H. Koch (really?) Theater (New York City Ballet), the Met, and David Geffen Hall (New York Philharmonic, nee Avery Fisher Hall)… The next day started with a hike down Broadway, where pleasant rest stops have sprouted in recent years. A scene on lower Broadway.