Looted from an Italian tomb and smuggled to the States, the "hot pot" cost the museum $1m. Curators finally confessed last year and agreed to return the 12-gallon wine-mixing pot (the ancient Greeks partied hearty).
I know, I know. The 2,500-year-old krater is a signed masterpiece, which Thomas Hoving, former Met director, called "positively the finest work of art I've ever seen."
Indeed, the hot pot is lovely. But standing in the glorious new gallery, a light-box conservatory-courtyard, I'm not sure it's worth the tempest... The mixer's not a disinterred ancestor nor the symbol of a nation. It's just a sublime example of the art that underpins much of western civilization.
And last I checked, even New York City could lay claim to that heritage.