Situated way uptown at Fort Tryon Park, The Cloisters is the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Medieval Art branch and it has on exhibit about 3000 works of Medieval European art dating from the ninth to the sixteenth century. There are priceless tapestries, sculptures, manuscripts, exquisite stained-glass windows and metalwork, housed in a building that was assembled from architectural elements dating from the XII to the XV century. The gardens you’ll find in three of the cloisters have been recreated from information found in manuscripts, documents and herbals.
While the building is not a copy of a specific medieval structure, there’s a definitive flow in the arrangement. Be it inside or outside, you’ll be enthralled by the works of art; every few steps you’ll feel the urge to stop and contemplate. It’s definitely one of the most interesting museums in NYC.
Some of my favorite artifacts: the oldest (and supposedly the first) set of cards, the unicorn tapestries (all 7 of them), St. Michael’s statue, the German busts (they were used to hold the cranium of the deceased person depicted) and the stained glass windows. One of the gardens offers beautiful views of the surrounding area; there’s a cafe where you can have a snack and rest your feet in a, well, monastic atmosphere.
Impossible not to take a lot of pictures – bring an extra memory card.