Day trip to the Met Cloisters

We’ve lived in Manhattan for nearly a year, and though we visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 5th Avenue several times, we hadn’t ventured to their second site – the Met Cloisters, until now.

The Cloisters are a branch of the Met which houses the museum’s medieval art and architechture collection.  The museum is situated in picturesque Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, overlooking the Hudson River.

The meandering 10 minute walk through the park towards the Cloisters transports you to a different time.  We walked on cobble stone paths, though hidden stone archways, down stone steps, through flower gardens, until we reached the museum.

The Cloisters are made up of five reassembled European abbeys and the look is medieval yet Moorish at the same time.  There are stone walls with chapels housing the artwork and some “indoor-outdoor” space with both enclosed and open courtyards and gardens.  There is currently a special exhibit on the lower level featuring boxwood carvings- the smallest, most detailed woodwork you may ever see.  One, the size of a matchbox opened up into an altar scene with a crown of thorns so tiny I can’t even imagine how it was made.  Others were rosary beads which opened to scenes of their apostles.

Getting to the Cloisters was pretty easy from the UWS – take the 1 train to 168th street station and transfer to the A train which lets you out at the foot of Fort Tryon park.  Alternatively, the M4 bus takes you from 110th Station and drops you off in front of the museum itself.

Admission to the Cloisters is included in the price of the Met (5th Ave.) for same-day visits, but to be honest I’m not sure how many people can take advantage of that…there is so much to see in each museum individually that seeing both in one day would be exhausting.   Admission is pay-what-you-wish, $25 suggested adult price.


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