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The new MOMA

Just in time for holiday visitors to the Big Apple, the Museum of Modern Art is reopening in a new space at its old address on East 53rd Street near Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

The museum had been holding shows at a temporary location in Queens since May 2002 while the renovation took place. The new building, which has nearly twice the capacity of the original space, opened to the public Saturday. Many beloved paintings from the permanent collection will be on display, including Vincent Van Gogh's "The Starry Night," Pablo Picasso's "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon," Claude Monet's "Water Lilies" triptych, and Henri Rousseau's "The Dream." The renovated space includes a 110-foot-high atrium, a fine-dining restaurant and new galleries devoted to contemporary art and new media.

Expect high turnout and long lines in the next few weeks. You can avoid waiting for the checkroom by traveling light; the museum requires that all backpacks, bags, umbrellas and purses larger than 11-by-14-inches be checked.

The museum will be open 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day except Tuesday, when it is closed, and Friday, when it remains open until 8 p.m. (It will close at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 24, and Dec. 31, and will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.)

Tourist flu shots

Long known for exotic flora and fauna, Jamaica now has a new attraction to woo foreign visitors: flu shots.

Hoping to cash in on a shortage of flu vaccines in the United States, a luxury resort in western Negril is offering guests "wellness packages" that include yoga classes, personal training and a flu shot for those unable to get one at home.

"There is no shortage of flu vaccines in Jamaica and there's no mad rush of people trying to get one," said marketing vice president Zein Nakash of Superclubs, which owns the Grand Lido Negril resort and spa.

The all-inclusive package, good only for November, costs $294 per person, per night. Besides the flu shot, guests also can enjoy the seaside hotel's several restaurants, health and spa facilities and reggae-themed dance classes.

For details, visit

Forbidden City

China plans to tear down a museum to restore the original appearance of its imperial palace in a sweeping renovation of the Forbidden City that will last until 2020.

The towers and gates of the 600-year-old palace, where 24 emperors lived in central Beijing, are shrouded in construction scaffolding as hundreds of workers repair, repaint and retile them.

The palace is so dilapidated after a century of war, fires and political upheaval that most of its 8,000 rooms are closed to the public. Still, it is China's single biggest tourist attraction, drawing some 7 million visitors a year.

The planned work, under way since 2001, calls for restoring and rebuilding villas and gardens, said Jin Honghui, the palace's deputy curator.

The Forbidden City, completed in 1420 during the Ming Dynasty, is the world's biggest palace. Despite decades of neglect, it is considered the biggest and best preserved specimen of classical Chinese architecture.

Officials plan to remove several modern structures that disrupt the traditional setting, including the National Archives Museum, Jin said.

Associated Press