The Cloisters: Art & Meditation

By Denise Oliveira

Medieval art, breathtaking views, and peace & quiet: These are a few of the things you’ll find at The Cloisters, the branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art dedicated to the art and architecture of medieval Europe.

Nestled in Fort Tyron Park, at the northern tip of Manhattan, the museum is accessible via subway, and offers a variety of talks, tours and concerts for the entire family. Coming up in November is a child-friendly “Medieval Pilgrimage” (exploring what travelers in the Middle Ages saw and did on their adventures) and in December, a series of concerts, including a program of hymns celebrating the feast of Saint Nicholas.

The museum, built to simulate a medieval cloister (such as a monastery or cathedral), features primarily Western European art including sculptures, stained glass and tapestries (the “The Unicorn in Captivity” tapestry is one of the most famous from The Cloisters).

Whether you’re up for a day of learning and study, or simply want to take in the stunning architecture and views of the Hudson, every New Yorker – and visitor – should consider this trip uptown. If you visit during the week, you’re more likely to find a bench overlooking one of the gardens where you can sit in solitude and meditate.

I’ve visited several times, and each time I’m there I discover something I hadn’t noticed before. Just this weekend, my husband and I visited again with a friend of ours who had never been (we included a brunch stop at the nearby New Leaf Restaurant, which I also recommend). I’m now obsessed with some stained glass I’d never focused on before. Here are some of our favorite photos.

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