The Cloisters

Thursday, May 09, 2013

On two separate occasions on this blog, I've vowed to make a trip to the Cloisters in Washington Heights. Well ... I finally, finally did it! And I'm really sad to report that it was way, way overrated.

I've been wanting to go the Cloisters, really, since I was in junior high school. One of the bus routes that passed by my high school also stopped by the Cloisters, and since then, I've been entranced by this "Cloisters" place. Rumor had it (among my twelve-year-old classmates) that it was a convent. Then it became a garden, and then finally, a museum.

What the Cloisters actually is is a building built in the medieval tradition, used to house a museum displaying medieval art and architecture. It's surrounded by Fort Tryon Park, and suggested admission costs a whopping $25.

Neither my friend Ellen nor I are particularly interested in Medieval history or art, so we were only there for the gardens, so beautifully depicted in photographs. Little did we know that there was nothing more to the gardens than what we'd already seen in photographs dozens and dozens of times.

One of the gardens ... or should we say "courtyards"?

Hot and dark inside.

Teeny weeny.

Still indoors.

I have a thing for teeny doors ... sadly, this door was not as tiny as I'd originally thought.

Little citrus trees ... kumquat?

The signage was funny.

In one of the courtyards was a woman sweeping ...

The most perfect tree in the world?

Fortunately, the trek north was not all for naught -- it was a beautiful, beautiful day in New York City, and Fort Tryon Park was really nice. It almost reminded me a teeny bit of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney.

Can somebody tell me ... are these jasmine flowers or not?

The view was plenty spectacular.

We also stumbled upon a couple pockets of joy, hidden among the creepy, deserted parts of Fort Tryon Park.

A "field" of poppies (in an abandoned recreation area)! From afar, I thought they were red tulips. 
I'd actually never before seen a poppy in person before, as far as I know.

California poppies!

A little reminiscent of my college days ...

Interesting ...

We found some art representing a time warp/porthole.

All in all, I'd say "absolutely, take a trip up to check the area out" and have a nice picnic in Fort Tryon Park, but definitely do not pay the suggestion admission to get into the Cloisters, unless you're really into Medieval Arts or you intend to also make a trip to the Met (Museum of Metropolitan Arts) on the same day (the fee includes admission to both within the same day).

The Cloisters
99 Margaret Corbin Drive
Fort Tryon Park
You can take the A train to the 190th Street stop and follow the signs upon exiting the station. Alternatively, you can take the M4 from the Upper East Side.

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