When we were there this past weekend, everyone was walking around with a smile because the entire place is BEAUTIFUL. Birds chirping. Fragrant blooms. Panoramic water views. Cool crisp air provided by the canopy of trees. Then there’s The Met Cloisters, which is just one big “wow” after another.
The Met Cloisters is dedicated to the art, architecture, and gardens of Medieval Europe. To me, the courtyard gardens are usually the most dazzling parts of the Cloisters. However, select pieces from the Costume Institute’s "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination" are currently on display throughout the museum, and the displays are truly divine. The ethereal garments displayed against the austere architecture and the relics of religious crusades and spiritual icons are dramatic and haunting.
The Cloisters, which opened to the public in 1938, was built to resemble a medieval monastery. The name is derived from the covered walkways leading to the beautiful courtyards. We enjoyed walking through the dark hallways and stairwells that led to the various cloisters. Arriving at each verdant space was such a breathtaking prize. The herb garden, just outside of the café, is where you will find everything from safflower to chia to mandrake, and beyond. It also overlooks a sprawling lawn where sunbathers, picnickers and other people just enjoying the tranquil surroundings go to chill.
Curious G took a quick romp on the lawn across the roadway from the Cloisters, and checked out the life sized knights by artist, Steinunn Thorarinsdottir, on display. She also tried to help herself to some birthday cake from an adorable little party that was happening on the lawn.
We had a lovely lunch at the patio of New Leaf Restaurant. The menu offers modern, locally sourced American dishes, and an array of cocktails. We were seated next to a baby shower; and a larger party started shortly after we were served. The patio was spacious enough to accommodate everyone comfortably. There was also a mini herb garden next to us, from which some of the herbs in our food were sourced.
After lunch we walked to the nearby Heather Garden. As we walked along the garden path, we could catch little slivers of the Washington Bridge sitting over the Hudson River in between the vibrant green trees. These little glimpses were a gentle reminder that we were still in NYC amidst all of this peaceful and lush beauty.
The David Rockefeller Linden Terrace presents panoramic views and benches for you to sit and appreciate the cooling shade provided by the canopy of trees overhead.
The surrounding neighborhood is special and complete with rolling hills and charming restaurants. There are two playgrounds in the park. La Marina and Seawalk are two nautical themed spots nearby that you can check out for dinner after a fun day at the park.
The special events at Fort Tryon can be found here. The Met Cloisters schedule of events can be found here. We caught a wildlife specialist one year, who brought an array of exotic birds; and we even got to pet a snowy owl.