Afternoon Tea & Art in New York City

Living in the Mid-Atlantic East Coast region means I have easy accessibility to take a weekend trip to the Big Apple. NYC holds a special place in my heart, and every time I visit I find some new wonderful experience. Two of my favorite fancies have been an afternoon gawking at artwork at the MoMA and afternoon high tea at The Plaza Palm Court.

The MoMA, one of my absolute favorite museums.

The MoMA, featured in my attempt at artistic photography.

NYC has no shortage of attractions and things to do. I’ve been multiple times, for various occasions, and each time I experience a little different piece of the city. To be honest, the first trip I took, I absolutely hated it. Crowded, congested places full of confused and gawking people are one of my many pet peeves. I’m so glad I went back a few years after to visit a good friend, though, because seeing the craziness through a different perspective changed my opinion on it.

If you’ve read about my travels in Europe, you might have gleaned that I’m not a climb-the-Statue-of-Liberty and New-Years-Eve-in-Times-Square type person. Too tacky-tourist for me. (Of course, I’ve spent a New Year’s Eve in the city and also seen the Statue with my own eyeballs, but I did them a little differently, which you can read about here.) One of my favorite places in the city, though, is the Museum of Modern Art.

The MoMA is packed full of, well, Modern Art. As someone who can appreciate pretty pictures but doesn’t have a degree in Renaissance Art Deco Relief Painters or whatever, this was the perfect museum to see all the great pieces I’d read and heard about. I highly recommend buying tickets online, even if you literally stand outside the museum and use your smartphone to purchase them. I had just gotten accepted to graduate school when I went, and didn’t get have a student ID to show, but was still able to purchase the student ticket, which is only $14 compared to the standard $25. Do what you wish with that nugget of information…

In addition to gawking at the Starry Night and Picassos and Mondrians and the infamous Andy Warhol paintings, there were also exhibits of much less “conventional” art that I wouldn’t normally seek out. If we’re being super blunt, some of it was weird… but I really enjoyed the range and quality of exhibits.

After a morning getting cultured, what better way to continue your afternoon than with Afternoon High Tea in the Palm Court at the Plaza. You’ll need to make a reservation ahead of time, but the price keeps the activity from being saturated with tourists. It’s a really classy and elegant treat if you can swing it. (And if you ever read the Eloise books as a child… it’s THAT Plaza Hotel.)

Tea at the Plaza. No scone left un-turned.

Tea at the Plaza. No scone left un-turned. On the left is the child’s tea tray, and on my right is a double tea-tray for my friend and I.

Afternoon Tea is about $70 a person and includes a full pot of tea (you get a big menu of options to choose from), those stinkin’ cute mini sandwiches, a basket of scones, and miniature desserts. They have a child’s tea option, which is about half the price and includes decaffeinated tea served in Eloise-themed china and kid-approved mini-sandiwches. The food is all wonderful and the Palm Court atmosphere is calming and beautiful.

Did I mention there are scones? And scones means cream and lemon curd. Leave no scone left un-turned. I mean it. And slather them all in lemon curd. You can thank me later by sending me some scones. 

Tea-partying like it's 1995.

Tea-partying like it’s 1995.

When I went to Tea at the Plaza, I was with my friend and her 6-year-old daughter. It’s fancy enough for adults to not feel like they’re crashing a teddy-bear tea party. If you’re looking to relax and catch up with a friend over something other than alcoholic drinks (although they do have a champagne option and hey, I’m never one to say no to champagne) this is a wonderful option! Just one of the many ways NYC always manages to capture my heart.



  1. Mary in Manhattan · July 30, 2015

    Ummm this is amazing. I must try afternoon tea!!!


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