The sun peeks through trees as the wind howls delicately through the crowds of people; nature lives. And yes, even in NYC. But probably a few more subway stops Uptown than you’re used to going. Jump on the A express and leave your comfort zone on the platform at 125th. There is life beyond Manhattan, and it’s beautiful. Run away to the Cloisters for a day to uncover NYC’s most underrated museum.
Finding the Cloisters
As you exit the Subway at 190th street, you’ll find yourself surrounded by flavor, grit, and movement; welcome to Washington Heights.
You’ve made it so far, reward yourself by taking a 15 minute stroll through nature. You’ll be greeted by the first trees you’ve probably seen in months. Let the view of the Hudson River, and silence of Fort Tyrone Park remind you that peace and quiet is not only possible, but necessary.
Once you’ve followed the pathway for about 15 minutes, and have had a few meditative moments, you’ll reach a medieval sanctuary tucked behind gardens and cobblestone roads.
The Cloisters is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art dedicated to the Middle Ages, and while I usually think museums are pretty dusty, this one surpassed my expectations.
The word “cloister” is not a foot fungus, or weird shrub, despite how the word sounds. Cloister means an enclosed walkway, usually in a religious institution, opening up to a courtyard. They couldn’t have been more straight-forward when naming this museum, ya get exactly that.
The entrance fee to walk the halls of monastery replica is a voluntary donation; so if you’re feelin’ good you pay a lot, if you’re tight on money you spend less. Regardless, it’s an amazing incentive to let anyone experience this beautiful four acre plot of land.
Does this not look like I was roaming the gardens of a European castle? You’ll actually hear birds chirp, notice delicate bees pollinate flowers, and have room to walk in this sanctuary, and yet so many New Yorkers and tourists neglect to pay this place a visit.
In the heat of NYC’s unforgiving summer days, it’s hard to imagine yourself doing anything other than hiding out in AC. But hiding out in the Cloisters surrounded by chilled marble walls and open-air gardens is probably much more memorable.