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.