What a lovely morning. The Metropolitan Museum of Art invited members to come in early, before the public are allowed in, to see the Matisse exhibition. I’m not a particular fan of Matisse, but I like to see exhibitions where the art is collected from all over the world into one place for a short period of time. The Met is huge, so big, I get completely lost in there. Being allowed in early is a real treat, it’s quiet, there’s no queues, the attendants are happy and smile at you. The galleries have a wonderful peace about them and the light is lovely this time of day. I went with J out of his buggy, always a challenge with a marauding 15 month old, but he loved it. Not too many people so that he gets lost amongst them but enough to catch his eye and make him and them smile. He walks in straight lines and veers off randomly, looks up at ladies mostly and does his shy thing. He’s in heaven when a succession of young women who work at the Met walk down a corridor and say hi to him. The exhibition itself isn’t too long and luckily nothing is at toddler height but I do carefully prise J’s beaker from his hand to stop him hurling it at some priceless art. The ladies in the shop offer him some work but he seems uninterested and off we go back through the modern art galleries, also empty, stopping to take in an Edward Hopper or two. The cafe is also very empty and we watch the squirrels and dogs in central park from the enormous windows at the back of the Met, drinking tea and munching on croissants. Wandering back to find the cloakrooms we get completely lost and end up in the wrong entrance, full of backpacks and teenagers and noise. The gentle quietness, the privilege of the empty Met quickly lost as we forge our way back to the cloakroom and out into the cold, snowy Manhattan morning. How lovely.