The holiday school break will soon be upon us and with it that dreaded question: “What are we going to do today, mom?” One answer, if you’ve got a lot of boys to keep busy or Avatar fans, is to head to Art of the Samurai, an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that runs through January 10.
The show covers 700 years of Japanese armor and swords, and some of the former are quite bizarre. The kids will get a big kick out of helmets that look like bunny ears and crab claws, and face masks decorated with fake mustaches. They will note the uncanny resemblance these helmets have to the one worn by Darth Vader. They will wonder how a samurai marched into battle with all this stuff on his head and his enemies didn’t fall down laughing. And there’s a well-made little movie about all the work that goes into making a samurai sword. On your way out, you might want to see the exhibit of Robert Frank’s street photography from the 1950s.
Going to the Met doesn’t have to be a budget buster. Kids under 12 are free, and the Met “recommends”–but does not require–that an adult pay $20 to enter. On holiday break, there’s a good chance that much of Manhattan’s Upper East Side will be off skiing in Switzerland, so you should be able to find street parking. To make it easier to deal with the meters, you might want to go online and buy a New York City parking card first.
The Met, which is at Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street in Manhattan, is open Tuesday to Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.;
Friday and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.