Perched on a wooded hill in Fort Tryon Park, near Manhattan's northwestern tip, the Cloisters Museum and Gardens, which shelters the medieval collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is a scenic destination in its own right. Colonnaded walks connect authentic French and Spanish monastic cloisters, a French Romanesque chapel, a 12th-century chapter house, and a Romanesque apse. One room is devoted to the 15th- and 16th-century Unicorn Tapestries from around 1500—a must-see masterpiece of medieval mythology. The tomb effigies are another highlight. Two of the three enclosed gardens shelter more than 250 species of plants similar to those grown during the Middle Ages, including flowers, herbs, and medicinals; the third is an ornamental garden planted with both modern and medieval plants, providing color and fragrance from early spring until late fall. Concerts of medieval music are held here regularly (concert tickets include same-day admission to the museum). The outdoor Trie Café is open 10 am to 4:15 daily except Monday, from April through October, and serves sandwiches, coffee, and snacks. Fee includes same-day admission to the Metropolitan Museum of Art's main building on 82nd Street.
Apr 23, 2009
Just a short (25 minute) car ride from mid-town Manhattan, this museum is a refreshing and interesting destination. Yes the Medieval tapestries are incredible, but don't forget to go outside and look in the gardens at the plants! We went on a sunny, spring weekend so it was a pleasant stroll through the gardens and great view of the river beyond the Cloisters walls. The very nice gift shop had some beautiful objects and a great selection of books,
most related to the Middle Ages but some not. The on-site cafe had not opened yet for the year, so we took a walk up to Fort Tryon and indulged in some passion fruit ice cream at the cafe there.
Apr 19, 2009
With the Cluny in Paris, this should be at the top of anybody's list of Medieval art museums. Has a manageable-sized collection of high quality, several being anthology level pieces, including the Unicorn Tapestries and Robert Campin's "Merode Altarpiece.". Housed in a space that cobbles together buildings of the era that were brought back from Europe and reassembled here -- includes chapels, a chapter house, and monastery courtyards. Excellent views
of the Hudson River from the surrounding park. The admission price is rather high, but only a suggested amount, and the ticket gets you same-day admission to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A must, well worth the trip uptown.