4.08.2014

Day Trippin': The Cloisters in NYC

When I moved to New York City over eight years ago, I had a little bubble of safety that I liked to stay in. I went to school and lived on the Upper East Side, so my bubble consisted of an area encompassing 1st Avenue over to Central Park / 5th Avenue from approximately East 38th Street north to East 96th Street. I stayed in that area until I graduated, moved to Brooklyn, and was then forced to interact with the city on a whole new level.

Since my epic move out East, I've ventured to explore a number of areas. The south part of the island was pretty much covered when Jeanette was living in the Financial District, I had the East and West Village mapped out, not to mention Flatiron / Chelsea (where I've worked for a number of years now), the Theater District (from when my parents came to visit), Murray Hill was a frequent after college (sigh), and I dated a guy on the Upper West Side (where Alyssa now resides). After conquering Williamsburg (where a friend lived for some time), I started branching out even further, taking day trips and making concerts in Park Slope, Randall's Island, Tarrytown, Cold Spring, and heck, I even made it to a Mets game once. 

I still very much enjoy discovering and adventuring on new day trips, and making people come with me. This time around, we made it out to The Cloisters, which is an intriguing extension of the famous Metropolitan Museum, only you have you go all the way up to 190th Street (eep)! Opened to the public in 1938, The Cloisters is devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe, and is one of the coolest places I've been in a long time. It's located on a huge plot of land overlooking the Hudson River, with gorgeous views of cliffs on one side and cityscape on the other. Pieced together from elements of medieval cloisters in Europe, the building houses some amazing architecture, and one of my favorite tapestry series - The Hunt of the Unicorn.

A series of several tapestries that follows hunters in pursuit of a unicorn, these medieval wall hangings always intrigued me in Art History class. As a huge fan of art history fiction as a child (so cool, I know), I was gifted and thoroughly enjoyed a novel, The Lady and The Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier, based around the creation of similar unicorn tapestries. That book (as well as innumerable others) begot my childhood love of churches, old museums, art history, and ancient architecture. The Cloisters brought all of that back together for me, making me reminisce about lazy summer afternoons reading books and being transported to another time and place.





Read More:
Met Museum
The Cloisters
The Unicorn Tapestries

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