Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Cloisters

We finally made it to The Cloisters. It's a bit of a subway ride - A train to 190th Street (from our subway stop at 14th) - but it was well worth the time. Once off the subway, you can either walk or catch the bus up, which takes you right in front of The Cloisters. The Cloisters is located in an isolated area on a hill in the Northernmost point of Manhattan and overlooks the Hudson River.

It's a branch of the MET devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe. If the Gothic and Romanesque periods appeal to you, this place is a must. Highlights include a 12th century chapter house, parts of five cloisters from medieval monasteries, a Romanesque chapel, and 5,000 works of art from medieval Europe.

Crucifix from Romanesque Spain, 1150-1200.

Torso of Christ, late 12th Century, France.

The original manuscript detailing the genealogical tree of Christ: Fragment of a Compendium of the Genealogy of Christ, about 1230, England.

This is one of the Unicorn Tapestries from the late middle ages. The Unicorn in Captivity, 1495-1505, Netherlands.

Chapter House from Notre-Dame-de-Pontaut, 12th century.

The Cloisters also has some wonderful separate gardens. The Cuxa Cloister.

Another cloister garden area where we had our lunch.

Some pieces of the columns are originals and some are reproductions used to keep the originals intact. This section is an original.

This garden area has a view of the Hudson River. The gardens are planted according to horticulture research of medieval times.

There were "Magic Plants," medicinal plants like lemon balm, and poisonous plants like these:

There were even wild strawberries and a pear tree.

Always a good sight to see kids exploring.

The Cloisters is appropriately located in a serene and peaceful area. It feels like you took a short trip out of Manhattan.

We saw everything at The Cloisters at a very comfortable pace in two hours. The best way to visit The Cloisters is to go on Friday or Saturday when the Met is open til 9 PM so you can have ample time to do both since admission to The Cloisters gets you free admission to the Met. Another option is to catch the bus right in front of the Cloisters and take it down to Cathedral Way and get off on 110th by Tom's Restaurant and walk a block over to The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine.