Helloo, helloooooo!! I’m back from my birthday blogging break. Well, I’m one year older and boy does it feel dramatically different! Just kidding 😆
I celebrated my birthday with my dear family who thoughtfully arranged for a summer evening gathering at The Cloisters, one of New York City’s most treasured and unique cultural institutions. The Cloisters is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum and houses an extensive collection of 12th through 15th century European medieval art. Visiting the Cloisters is like experiencing a time travel walk through the Middle Ages. Now if that sounds like something gloomy and oppressive, believe me it isn’t. On the contrary. It’s a magnificently meditative and spiritual experience, not to mention a curatorial grand slam for the Met. Among some of the collection’s highlights are the Dutch unicorn tapestries, which have to be seen to be believed, and the Romanesque altar cross, acquired under the Met Museum’s famed former curator Thomas Hoving. Although the art at the Cloisters is all religious in nature, you don’t have to be a devout Catholic (which I’m not) to appreciate the profound artistic beauty of the Cloisters. It is an exceptional place. One of my favorite spots in the city. I took a lot of pictures of the grounds.
The curving cobblestone pathway leading up to the Cloisters:
The Metropolitan Museum is located on Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street, but the Cloisters are way, way uptown in lovely Fort Tryon Park, on a 67 acre raised ridge of protected land overlooking the Hudson River. Fort Tryon Park has some of the best views of the river, the George Washington Bridge, and the New Jersey Palisades. It’s hard to describe in words the lush quietude and unusual terrain of Fort Tryon Park. Majestic tall trees, exposed igneous rocks slicing down the west end of Manhattan island, dense woodland, vines and shrubbery growing wildly out of every crevice, and a long stretch of park grounds for picnicking, reading, and contemplation. Best of all, the park is over a hundred blocks away from the chaos, noise, and commotion of midtown Manhattan.
The sun setting over the Hudson River, streaming into Fort Tryon Park, cutting across the top of the Cloisters:
I love the stony pathway of Fort Tryon Park. Here are a few shots:
Fort Tryon Park’s charming restaurant, The New Leaf Cafe, where we had my birthday dinner. Just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Cloisters, the New Leaf was formerly a stables, now converted into a wonderful dining spot in the heart of the park. It boasts an outdoor patio and fabulous jazz combo on Friday nights:
And last but not least, my niece Olivia, who considered her iPod a much more interesting diversion than anything to do with her Aunt Claudia’s birthday! Medieval art collection? What’s that? Ah, to be six years old again 🙂