How to Watch the Met Gala Red Carpet From the SidelinesApril 13, 2018 - by Merrill Lee Girardeau
Springtime in New York brings cherry blossoms, mint juleps, the blessed return of patio seating, and—glory be—the Met Gala. The first Monday in May, celebrities, designers, musicians, filmmakers, athletes, and other elite invitees attend the gala to fun the Met Costume Institute and hearken its new exhibition. This hallowed fashion tradition is the biggest red-carpet event in New York all year round. The 2018 exhibit is called Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, and the party is Monday, May 7. If you happen to be in New York that day, get ready to see celebs and their cutting-edge papal dress from the sidelines of the red carpet! See below some simple yet essential tips for seeing fashion’s night out live and in person.
Tips for Watching the Met Gala Red Carpet in NYC: Get There Early
The timing of the Met Gala hasn’t yet been announced, but we’d recommend you post up on 5th Avenue between 82nd and 84th Streets around 4pm or earlier if you want a decent view of the fashion action. The fan areas will be cordoned off, and you’ll be lucky if you get a spot on the museum side of the street. But even if you’re on the opposite side of the street, rest assured no buses will park in front of you during the red carpet, as this portion of 5th Avenue will be reserved just for vehicles with beautiful people inside (remember last year when Karlie Kloss showed up in a pedicab?). Also, pay attention to obstructions like tents that might get in the way of your view before you settle down in your spot.
Tips for Watching the Met Gala Red Carpet in NYC: Wear Comfy Shoes
Pretend you’re a professional photographer for today only, and wear some comfortable shoes. You’ll be standing a lot, craning your neck, even jumping to get a good look (and an even better pic) of Vogue magazine’s Editor-in-Chief and Met Gala high priestess Anna Wintour in her fab frock (which will most likely be by Chanel).
Tips for Watching the Met Gala Red Carpet in NYC: Get That Selfie Stick
Unless you’re a giant, you’ll need a selfie stick on May 7 not for selfies alone but to give your phone a better angle on the red carpet. You can raise up the stick as high as you want and snap better pics of, for example, the co-hosts of this year’s gala. The co-hosts, all fashion royalty, are Amal Clooney, the human rights lawyer and George Clooney’s wife, legendary fashion designer Donatella Versace, and pop star/Met fashion icon Rihanna.
Tips for Watching the Met Gala Red Carpet in NYC: Travel Light
Again, think professional photographer, and bring only the essentials. No bulky backpacks, no shopping bags, no strollers. Once Taylor Swift, Claire Danes, and Kim Kardashian show up, people will smush you against the barricades to get a good look. You don’t want your stuff smushed too!
Tips for Watching the Met Gala Red Carpet in NYC: Carry Snacks & Drinks
You’ll be at your post for awhile, and you’ll need some energy for the big event. Bring a water bottle and snacks of your choice to enjoy while you wait! If you forget or don’t have room in your fanny pack (we kid.. sort of), visit nearby spots on Madison Avenue, which is one block east of 5th Avenue. You’ll find casual restaurants like New Amity, the diner Nectar, Le Pain Quotidien, and Starbucks. These are also good spots for a bathroom break—but do buy something before you go.
Tips for Watching the Met Gala Red Carpet in NYC: Wait for B & RiRi
Beyonce and Rihanna typically make some of the boldest sartorial moves of the night. They’re like the grand finale of the red carpet, and you’d be well-advised to wait to the very end to see them process through the screaming photographers, up the stairs, and inside to the big party.
Tips for Watching the Met Gala Red Carpet in NYC: Bring a Friend; Make Friends
Fashion’s Super Bowl is best enjoyed with a like-minded friend. Bring a trusted buddy, but don’t forget to socialize with those around you as well. This will make the time go by so much faster while you wait! They can hold your spot when you take breaks, and you can do the same for them. And when push comes to shove (literally) they can help you spot Gisele Bundchen or Jennifer Lopez on the red carpet if you lose visibility for any reason. You might even cajole a tall line friend into letting you sit on their shoulders when your favorite celeb walks by.
Glee's Diana Agron at the 2015 Met Gala. Photo/flickr/Mike Ownby