Pulling up to the Cloisters we felt like we were arriving at an ancient castle, that’s how beautiful it is. It is just such a commanding building! Located on the top of a hill, it’s presence is even that much grander. The Cloisters, which John D. Rockefeller, Jr. donated the building and the land for, was built between the years of 1925-1938, when it opened to the public. Before reading this information my mom and I thought that the building was hundreds of years old,but instead it was just “designed in the style of medieval architecture, specifically for the display of masterpieces from that era”.
I felt like the Cloisters really had something for everyone. It had traditional paintings, sculptures, stained glass, metalwork, gorgeous gardens, architecture, tapestries and antique furniture. Everywhere you looked there was a completely different type of artwork, so it really held your attention. My personal favorite was a combination of the gorgeous architecture and the gardens. I could not stop taking photos of the two, especially together!
The Cloisters is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but it’s not located at the iconic 5th Avenue location. If you go to either the Cloisters, the Met Fifth Avenue, or the Met Breuer, you only have to give the suggested donation once!
How to get there:
The Cloisters is located in Fort Tryon Park in the Washington Heights section of Northern Manhattan. It can be reached by public transportation by taking the A train to 190th Station and then walking for about 10 minutes or taking the M4 bus to the last stop. It’s also easily accessible via driving by taking the Henry Hudson Parkway and using the free parking in the park. Or if you are like me and my mom you will take an Uber and not have to worry about doing anything! We were a bit worried about getting an Uber to go home in but it was a breeze, someone instantly accepted our ride! If your Uber App goes a bit wonky and says someone will get you in 234 minutes (which is what mine said), just ignore it. Apparently the service goes out a little bit up there.
Where to eat:
My mom and I ate at The Trie Cafe. On a scale from 1-10 I would give it a 6. The food itself would be about a 3 but the environment is just so lovely I had to raise the score! In the center courtyard there is this whole garden of wildflowers that making sitting out there in the fresh air so refreshing. We each ordered a glass of rose and just people watched and caught up. Plus you have to give it a point for convenience too, since it is right in the museum after all.
The other option is to walk 8 minutes to New Leaf restaurant. It is not affiliated with the museum but they are both in Fort Tryon Park. The menu looks delicious and it looks like a cute spot! We didn’t had up there but I think on my next visit I’ll schedule that in! The restaurant also seems pretty cool since it was also owned and built around the same time as The Cloisters by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. It also is operated by COFFEED, a charity-minded, NYC-based food & beverage company, which donates 7% of its revenue to the NYRP and the Fort Tyron Park Trust.
The surrounding area:
Even though you can hear the hustle and bustle of the city from certain areas, Fort Tryon Park really is quite peaceful. My mom and I took a nice walk around the Cloisters and minus the occasional car noise, you really forgot that you were in Manhattan. I would definitely recommend walking around the land outside of the Cloisters for a bit if you go. The pathways are really very lovely!
If you have any other Cloisters questions let me know, I’d be happy to answer them!