The Met Cloisters

The Cloisters has one of New York City's best displays of medieval European art and architecture. This charming four-acre venue features original courtyards that have been imported from France.

Facts and History

The Cloisters
Serving as an extension of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cloisters is a stunning complex that replicates and celebrates the charm of medieval Europe. Immediately after World War I, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. pushed for the development of parks and cultural attractions in the relatively tranquil Upper Manhattan. This wealthy figure enthusiastically convinced Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. to design a master plan for a new green space. Eventually, Charles Collins was hired as the chief architect of a project that was supposed to establish a medieval-style presence in New York City. Unlike most museums and landmarks in NYC, the Cloisters was not built from scratch. Collens and other designers acquired authentic structures from various religious sites in the French and Spanish countryside. Entire columns, walls, floors and roofs were meticulously assembled and reconstructed to form the Cloisters. Mostly made from stone and marble, the imported pieces were enhanced and combined with other modern installations that were supposed to mimic the architecture and interior design of Europe during the Middle Ages.

Exhibitions and Galleries

The core of the Cloisters consists of four different sections that are modelled after actual gardens and outdoor galleries in abbeys, monasteries and churches in France. Centrally located in the main building, most of the Cuxa Cloisters is derived from the Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa in southwestern France. The Bonnefort contains installations that once stood in a Cistercian property in Toulouse, France. The Trie Cloister consists of structures that were taken from a French estate that was operated by Carmelites. At the Saint-Guilhem Cloister, you can see original elements that were found in the French commune of Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert. Arcades with arches, fountains, paved walkways and lush gardens define the main features of these four outdoor cloisters that essentially serve as courtyards. The interior galleries at the Cloisters include the Late Gothic Hall, Romanesque Hall, Unicorn Tapestries and Merode Room. After looking at canvas oil paintings, sculptures, tapestries and scriptures, you can admire some of the authentic religious replications in the Langon Chapel, Gothic Chapel and Fuentiduena Chapel. Frescoes, stained glass windows, ossuaries and tombs are some of the highlights in the chapels. At the West Terrace, you could enjoy panoramic views of New Jersey's Palisades Cliffs that rise above the Hudson River. A portion of the iconic George Washington Bridge is also visible from this spacious outdoor terrace.

Visiting The Cloisters

The Cloisters occupies four acres between the Inwood and Hudson Heights neighbourhoods of Upper Manhattan. This attraction is perched on hills that rise above the eastern banks of the Hudson River, which separates New York City from New Jersey. The northern part of Fort Tryon Park encompasses this medieval-style recreation that's been revived by ambitious tycoons and passionate art collectors. To reach the Cloisters by public transportation, you can take the New York City subway to the Dyckman Street station that has several entrances and exits. Trains that follow the A line stop just off Broadway and Riverside Drive. You can also take the 1 line and get off on Nagle Avenue. After exiting from one of the underground stops at Dyckman Street, you'll need to briefly take an upward hike on meandering trails that lead to the peaks of Fort Tryon Park. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) operates buses that conveniently stop along Margaret Corbin Drive, which encircles the perimeter of the Cloisters. This transportation option is highly recommended for visitors who have trouble walking on elevated terrains.

Location: 99 Margaret Corbin Drive in Fort Tryon Park, New York City, NY, 10040

Click here to visit The Cloisters official website

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