A few weeks back, I decided to take a trip up the island to visit the tip-top of Manhattan and check out the Metropolitan Museum’s extension, otherwise known as the Cloisters.
One of my college friends had told me about The Cloisters but wasn’t able to take off work that day. What better way to enjoy the last leaves of fall than exploring the good ‘ol outdoors?
The Cloisters is actually a museum located in Fort Tryon Park up in Washington Heights, New York. It was built in the 1930’s and incorporates many architectural elements of European medieval abbeys. I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into when I took the A train up that day. When I arrived I thought it might have served as an abbey, but no, it simply is used to exhibit art and architecture from Medieval Europe. Very thematic don’t you agree?
It’s found on the upper west side of Manhattan overlooking the Hudson River. The building itself pulls architectural elements from five cloistered abbeys of Catalan, Occitan and French origins. In fact, thanks to some wikipedia research, I found that buildings at Sant Miquel de Cuixà, Sant Guilhèm dau Desèrt, Bonnefont-en-Comminges, Trie-en-Bigòrra, and Froville were all disassembled brick-by-brick before being shipped to New York. It wasn’t until 1938 that the features were finally assembled in Fort Tryon Park.
Because it is an extension of the Met, there is no entrance fee, but rather a suggested donation. I felt quite sophisticated, attending a museum on a Saturday along with a majority of other tourists and older couples.
However, while the artifacts were tres interesante, I enjoyed the garden and outdoors much better. Apparently the gardens were reconstructed based on horticultural information obtained from medieval manuscripts and artifacts. One area I found even had a medieval-style cloistered herb garden.
The weekend I ended up going, the weather was beyond gorgeous. Leaves changing from a vibrant green to musty brown, cooler weather perfect for boots and a scarf, people walking together all around. I hadn’t spent much time outside of midtown, so adventuring some greener pastures, even if it was still in New York was just the break I was looking for. Now that the temperatures are dropping, I’m not sure it will have the same feeling, but I bet walking along the Hudson would still be quite picturesque. Another idea would be to pack a picnic and enjoy it under one of their many trees, hills, or benches. Yet another idea would be to take the metro up and run back along the water, with a group of people of course.
99 Margaret Corbin Dr, New York, NY 10040
Open 7 Days a Week
March–October: 10:00 a.m.–5:15 p.m.
November–February: 10:00 a.m.–4:45 p.m.
Closed Thanksgiving Day, December 25, and January 1
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
– Albert Einstein