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Did you see this recent article from New York magazine? While extolling the benefits of Summer Friday’s, it also manages to identify everything that’s weird and wrong with American working culture. How can people in Luxembourg work fewer hours than us but achieve more productivity?!!

Last week I had a wonderful Friday afternoon at the lesser known Neue Galerie, which specializes in 20th century German and Austrian art. It’s only a few blocks from the Met, but its size and feel make it almost a more enjoyable visit. The crowds are small but the exhibits are top notch. The museum itself is located in a beautifully renovated Beaux-arts style building with the most incredible staircase.

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The interior rooms feel elegant but still liveable (I would be so lucky!), and the art … Well, let’s just say that being in the presence of landmark works by Klimt, Klee, and Schiele is nothing less than inspiring. The museum does an amazing job of using a specific time period, physical space, and type of exhibit to create a truly transporting experience.

The museum cafe is also like getting time warped back to turn-of-the-century Vienna (or at least what I imagine it to be like!). The upstairs room is called Cafe Sabarsky, and while it’s more difficult to get in, it’s worth the wait. You sit in a gorgeous, intimate room covered in dark wood paneling and lit with gold wall sconces and chandeliers. Patrons old and young sip espresso from tiny cups on tiny Carrerra marble tables, and along the perimeter is the shine of amazing Austrian desserts under glass domes. I had a fantastic slice of sachertorte and a very good weiner melange about halfway through my visit.

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Downstairs is Cafe Fledermaus, where I’m told they have musical performances and fancy dinners. A great classy date night, yes?

I think Cafe Sabarsky would be a lovely stop before or after the Met, perhaps on a cold winter’s day with snow on the ground. You’d bundle in, drop your coat, and enjoy the perfect schokolade and some shortbread while watching the trees toss outside. Then you could catch the bus just outside the doorstep home. The end to the perfect day.

The Neue Gallery
1048 Fifth Avenue @ 86th Street
$20 Admission

Cafe Sabarsky
Located inside the Neue Galerie

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