New York City

The rain became persistent by the the time lunch rolled around, so I opted for midtown where sidewalks are less narrow and, therefore, the odds of being poked in the eye with a mismanaged umbrella decrease slightly.  Over a cask ale and sweet sausage at Birreria, I plotted my afternoon plan.  How else would one enjoyably make an agenda?   While I was completing lunch, the retractable roof on the top of Eataly was feeling optimistic about the forecast and started to uncover the partly sunny skies.  As I admired my perfect view of the Empire State Building, I decided that, I too, should feel hopeful and select an outdoor venue.  And with that, I was off to The Cloisters!

I was probably 5 years into my New York City residency before I heard someone mention going to The Cloisters, and even at that point, my friend put so little emphasis on the statement that I barely paused for a second to recognize that I had no clue what she was talking about.   The second time The Cloisters came up, I was in conversation with colleagues, and one of the four brides-to-be in the marketing department was discussing that she and her fiance were having engagement photos taken at the museum.  This intrigued me a little more because I could start to put some context to the location.  Then I saw her pictures.  There is no way these were taken in New York City.  

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I boarded the crowded A train and knew that it would start to thin out at 59th and then 125th Streets, so I wasn’t too worried about settling in for the 40 minute ride to 190th Street.  As we arrived and I made my way outside, my jaw dropped.  I didn’t know what I was expecting to find, but I couldn’t believe what I had been missing out on for 8 years.   I texted my husband, “You need to bring your bike here this weekend.  It is unbelievable.”  In my mind Central Park has nothing on what I saw in Fort Tryon today — beautiful gardens, vistas overlooking the Hudson River and George Washington Bridge, and, last but far from least, The Cloisters.

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The sprawling grounds of The Cloisters are accompanied by a beautiful Medieval-style castle that is just as interesting from the outside as it is on the inside.  I guided myself through the small rooms of unicorn tapestries, intricate sculptures, and breathtaking stained glass windows and appreciated the attention to detail that the craftsman took in their work.  In addition to the galleries and the chapel, there are small, yet precise gardens to walk through and explore.  There were many visitors taking a respite from their touring in the gardens – relaxing, daydreaming, or reading.

Cloisters Group

After two hours I had covered the museum from top to bottom, so I made my way back through Fort Tryon park.  The sun was out in full force as I strolled through the Heather Gardens, past the New Leaf restaurant, and onto the A train heading downtown.  I was so happy I made the excursion uptown to find a breath of fresh air.  Yes, you can even find fresh air in NYC if you look hard enough.

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