49 NYC Met New York Charm

The Metropolitan Museum of Art lobby roiled with babbling rising up to the vaulted ceiling and people wearing ethnic costumes like in the U.N. across town. I asked the East Indian woman in a smartly cut business suit behind the information desk, "Where can I find the paintings by Edward Hopper?"

"I don't know who he is."

"A famous American painter."

"Go up to the American wing."

There, I asked a stocky, gray-haired Slav wearing a gray suit trimmed with ornamental braiding that made him look like that most New York of occupations, a doorman, which gallery had the Hoppers.

He raised one bushy eyebrow. "He's not here. He's over in Twentieth Century."

"The woman at the front desk said he would be here," I explained.

"Do me favor," he said curtly. "Go back to front desk and tell woman she is donkey."

Ahh, New York charm. That's what I came here to find.

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