Thomas Campbell’s New York

Under his tenure as director and CEO, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has attracted the highest visitor numbers in 40 years and will launch new annexe the Met Breuer next spring

Image: Dorothy Hong

Weekends are sacrosanct and a time for family and friends. I’m up at 6am on weekdays, so I relish sleeping in until 8am. We live right across from Central Park, so my mornings begin with a brisk walk with our two dogs – Boswell, a five-year-old goldendoodle, and Wolsey, a russell terrier puppy. They’re allowed off the lead before 9am and I enjoy the spectacle of New York’s quirky subculture of dog owners.

I’m careful about what I eat, but not on Saturdays, when I indulge in pâtisserie from Madison Avenue favourite EAT. Then I like to pop into peer institutions to see the latest exhibitions. MoMA, the Whitney and galleries like David Zwirner and Gagosian are wonderful places to see well-established modern artists like Yayoi Kusama, Richard Serra and Henry Moore; and many smaller spaces are staging museum-level installations, which is great research ahead of our Met Breuer launch.

Afterwards my wife Phoebe and I might have lunch at The Standard Grill, followed by a stroll back uptown along the High Line. I don’t shop much, but we’ll stop at Barneys, where I’ll treat myself to a new Kiton or Charvet tie, or the Zegna suits I like. Further up Madison we’ll visit Bardith to browse the excellent Chinese porcelain; we’re not serious collectors, but like to buy plates and bowls for our 18th-century home in rural Connecticut. I also love Crawford Doyle Booksellers for the latest biographies and art tomes.

After reading stacks of art catalogues and Instagramming the day’s visual finds, Phoebe and I will head out for drinks and dinner. If we’re in the mood for something casual, it will be Antonucci for excellent fried artichokes; if we’re feeling swell, then it’s Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle for a Negroni and oysters, great jazz and people-watching. For a change of scene, we like the Village or NoHo. I enjoy the vibrant mix of young people – very different to the Upper East Side – and great Italian food at both Il Buco and Carbone. I tend to eat fish during the week, so I’ll have pappardelle with duck sugo or thick-cut lamb chops.

Sundays begin with The New York Times and breakfast with our daughter Honor [14]. Mid-morning I like to visit the Met to walk the galleries and see the ways people are interacting with the art; I find it both humbling and inspiring.


Lunch is almost always at Serafina, where we share wood-fired pizzas and the straccetti del Tuscolo, a delicious grilled steak with olive oil and herbs. I like everything about this place.

On a beautiful afternoon we’ll visit The Cloisters, a country escape within the city. I love the romance of the medieval gardens, the views overlooking the Hudson and the Unicorn Tapestries. I don’t push Honor to join us for these cultural outings, but she’ll often come along of her own accord.

Late afternoons usually involve swimming at nearby Asphalt Green. I find doing 24 lengths deeply relaxing and come out feeling ready for anything. I also like to jog around Central Park’s reservoir, which is a manageable two and a half miles door to door.

Sunday evenings are spent at home with Thai takeaway from Harvest, watching one of our favourite TV series like House of Cards or a film. Phoebe likes depressing movies where everyone dies, whereas I prefer science fiction like The Hunger Games; the more cyborgs the better. I’m in bed by 11pm – the week ahead could involve accompanying curators to China or attending one of the world’s art fairs, and I’m always keen to catch up on much-needed sleep.


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