Fort Tryon Park and The Cloisters, New York City

4.5 out of 5 stars 37 Reviews

99 Margaret Corbin Dr., New York, NY 10040 (212) 795-1388

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  • Fort Tryon Park and The Cloisters
    by gilabrand
  • Spooky medieval altar
    Spooky medieval altar
    by gilabrand
  • Fort Tryon Park and The Cloisters
    by gilabrand
  • Toughluck's Profile Photo

    Quiet amongst the busy city.

    by Toughluck Written Jan 10, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Families and couples were seen throughout the park. Each quietly doing their own thing. The shade was pleasant on a warm afternoon and the views over the river wonderful.

    The New Leaf Cafe (rescued by Linda Rondstat??) offers what I call high end food. White plates, lunch in the garden style for a price. Otherwise, up by the subway station, an ice cream truck offered cool treats and drinks.

    Kids can run free. The area is enclosed to keep them away from streets and drop-offs. Relax and enjoy.

    The upper walk. The Cloisters New Leaf Cafe - restrooms Overlook Flowers in bloom
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    The Cloisters

    by yooperprof Written Aug 10, 2013

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    "The Cloisters" is the very special museum (technically a branch of the Metropolitan) specially conceived and designed to display treasures of medieval european art and architecture. The building was "executed" by Charles Collens (1873-1956), combining fragments of authentic medieval structures with elements of his own devising. Billionaire John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) wrote the checks. Appropriately enough, "the Cloisters" is on the National Register of Historical Places.

    The Cloisters has a spectacular location, nestled in the woods of Ft. Tryon Park on the far upper west side. There are lovely views across the Hudson to similarly dense forest in New Jersey. J.D. Rockefeller wanted to make sure that the view from the Cloisters remained pristine, so he arranged for the purchase of several hundred acres across the river which may never be developed.

    The Cloisters contain many incredible treasures; my favorite is perhaps the series of tapestries features a mysterious and inexplicable unicorn.

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  • gilabrand's Profile Photo

    Back to the Middle Ages

    by gilabrand Written Apr 29, 2013

    While staying in Westchester, we did a day trip to The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park, a museum overlooking the Hudson built in the style of a medieval monastery. The building looks very authentic although it actually dates from the 1930s. It houses an interesting collection of art, sculptures, unicorn tapestries, knights paraphernalia, jewelry, and other artifacts from the Middle Ages. The drive is not long and there is lots of free parking.

    From Henry Hudson Parkway North you take the first exit after George Washington Bridge. There is no admission fee but you are encouraged to make a donation. Bear in mind that the museum is closed on Mondays.

    Spooky medieval altar
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  • Paul2001's Profile Photo

    The Cloisters in Washington Heights

    by Paul2001 Updated Jul 19, 2012

    The Cloisters is probably the most undeservedly overlooked museum in New York. This might be because of it's remote location however it might also be for the fact that medieval artwork does not have a broad appeal. I find it fascinating therefore I loved the Cloisters.
    The Cloisters looks completely out of place in New York City. This is for the fact that looks just like a medieval monastery like one you might find in France or Italy. The reason why is simple. The building incorporates parts of several abbeys from throughout Europe.
    The collection itself was donated by George Grey Barnard and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. There are many highlights including the Romanesque Hall; the frescoed Spanish Fuentidueña Chapel, featuring a massive, domed twelfth-century apse from Segovia; the St Guilhelm cloister, encompassed by Corinthian-style columns capped by carved capitals from thirteenth-century southern France; and the Langon Chapel, enhanced by a twelfth-century altar canopy that manages to be both formal and elegant. However the biggest draw of the museum is considered to be the Unicorn Tapestries.
    The Cloisters Museum is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. If you have visited the Met on the sameday that you are visiting the Cloisters then you same ticket will allow entry here without additional cost. Otherwise you will have to cough up $20.00 for adult admission. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday and closed on Monday.

    The Cloisters
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  • saw50st8's Profile Photo

    Beautiful Gardens

    by saw50st8 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    If you are in the Washington Heights area, definitely hit Fort Tryon Park. Its a beautiful spot of nature right in the city. I used to spend hours wandering around when my grandparents still lived in the neighbourhood. The spring is particularly beautiful because of all the flowers blooming.

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  • TexasDave's Profile Photo

    The Cloisters- Museum of Medieval Gems.

    by TexasDave Written Dec 5, 2009

    The Cloisters, the branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe, was assembled from architectural elements that date from the twelfth through the fifteenth century. One of the highlights is the collection of the "Unicorn Tapestries".
    It is in Fort Tryon Park, in the most Northern part of NYC.

    Admission to The Cloisters includes free same-day admission to the Main Building of the Museum, and vice versa, although seeing both in one day will mean a very long day.

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  • apbeaches's Profile Photo

    The Cloisters

    by apbeaches Written Jul 28, 2008

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    The Cloisters house the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection of art and architecture from medieval Europe. "Located on four acres overlooking the Hudson River in northern Manhattan's Fort Tryon Park, the building incorporates elements from five medieval French cloisters--quadrangles enclosed by a roofed or vaulted passageway, or arcade--and from other monastic sites in southern France. Three of the cloisters reconstructed at the branch museum feature gardens planted according to horticultural information found in medieval treatises and poetry, garden documents and herbals, and medieval works of art, such as tapestries, stained-glass windows, and column capitals. Approximately five thousand works of art from medieval Europe, dating from about A.D. 800 with particular emphasis on the twelfth through fifteenth century, are exhibited in this unique and sympathetic context."

    The view of the Hudson River
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  • mindcrime's Profile Photo

    a nice park

    by mindcrime Written Jul 26, 2008

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    If you visit Cloisters museum you will enjoy a walk into this nice greeny public park of Upper Manhattan. The view from some parts of Fort Tryon park are very beautiful because it overlooks over Hudson river. The battle of Fort Washington took place here on November 16, 1776 and that’s why the near bridge has the name Washington bridge. The name of the main street near the park is Margaret Corbin, the first woman that fight in that war.

    The park was constructed in 1935 and it contains an extensive walking path network, wooden slopes, terraces and meadows. Many families with children and old people were there relaxing on the lawn or just looking down at the Hudson river. John Rockefeller bought the area in 1917, he gave the basic artifacts to Cloisters museum some years after (like the unicorn tapestries) when he donated the land to New York City. He also bought the area at New Jersey, now knows as Pasisades State Park because he wanted to preserve Fort Tryon’s views!! I wish I had a park like this here in Athens close to my house…

    Fort Tryon park and Cloisters from Hudson river Fort Tryon park a terrace at Fort Tryon park view from Fort Tryon park a path at Fort Tryon park
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  • mindcrime's Profile Photo

    a medieval museum in NY!

    by mindcrime Written Jul 26, 2008

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    If you have visited medieval museums in Europe you won’t be impressed by Cloisters but I spent 2 nice hours here and the surrounded area overlooking Hudson River was also very nice. There are some medieval artifacts in Metropolitan Museum but here you will see many from monastic sites in southern France.

    The building of the museum looks like a castle, there is a room that recreates a 12th century chapel and the gardens are also very interesting because they are planted according to information from that era(from poems and other documents or artifacts).

    What I liked most at Cloisters were the Unicorn tapestries, 7 wall hangings dated back to 1495 that portray the hunt and capture of the mythological creature unicorn by noblemen and hunters(pic2). The myth says that a beast with one horn can only be tamed by a virgin maiden but there are some Christian theories that describe the death of the unicorn as the passion of Christ. Many times, some pagan symbolisms turned into acceptable religious theme those days.

    You will also see some small medieval works of art, most of them about a religious theme, some precious metal artifacts, the stained glass and some sculptures were also interesting (some nice signs at the side of each item will help you to understand the background of each one). The Romanesque altar cross from 12th century known as “Cloisters Cross” is also one of the popular items because it’s decorated with 92 carved figures that illustrate some biblical scenes. The “Nativity of Virgin” (pic 3) shows Virgin Mary in an unusual position, lying down tired(usually the sculptures of her are on standing position). The sculptor of St.Cristopher has also an interesting story behind if you don’t already know about it(pic5). He devoted his life to carry the poor across a river. One night, he felt his burden grow heavier while he was carrying a child, the child declared that he was Christ and Christopher was bearing the weight of the world!

    I’ve been told that there are occasional concerts some afternoons but I didn’t catch one. Usually, it takes place at the 12th cenury Spanish chapel.

    I visited Cloisters museum the same day with Metropolitan because it’s for free if you do so the same day. I don’t remember any entrance fee though but the suggested donation is $20.The museum is closed on Mondays but the other days is opened 9:30-17:15

    Cloisters museum the hunt of unicorn, tapestry in Cloisters nativity of Virgin in Cloisters museum a garden at Cloisters museum St Christopher sculpture at Cloisters
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  • garridogal's Profile Photo

    The Cloisters

    by garridogal Updated May 10, 2008

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    Looking for something different to do in NYC? Go to The Cloisters! It's different because although it's on the island of Manhattan and that's certainly evident when you get off the subway; once you walk into Ft. Tryon Park which will surrounds it, you'll wonder if you've left the city.

    I hadn't been here since I was in High School so I didn't have a detailed memory of the structure. The only thing that stood out in my memory was an intricately detailed carved Rosary bead. It's about the size of a walnut and it has a crucifixion and other Biblical scene carved into it in the most amazing detail you can possibly imagine. Seeing it again, I was just as amazed and baffled at how it could've been created, now as I was back then.

    It was a gorgeous day when we went and I took a lot of pictures. If you'd like to see them, check out my travelogue!

    One of the many courtyards In the garden Strange prickly fruit And squirting cucumbers.....oh my! A chapel
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  • acloud's Profile Photo

    other things to do in the city

    by acloud Written Apr 11, 2008

    I've done the Tenement Museum...LOVED it. Be sure to call early, the groups are small. I've used Big Apple Greeters before, too, and it was great. It was like walking around with a friend who knew the area. I've also done the foods of ny tour and if you are a foodie, I highly recommend it. Lots of samples and info about the neighborhood. Another fun thing that's free is kayaking the Hudson off the Chelsea Piers. It's every Saturday. A place for an Italian neighborhood without the "touristy" feeling of Little Italy is Arthur Ave. in the Bronx. Wonderful, inexpensive food that's really Italian. It's near the zoo and the Botanic Garden, so there's lots to do in the area. Try the Cloisters Museum, which is up that way, too. Incredibly beautiful, both the art work and the building and grounds.

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  • Gypsystravels's Profile Photo

    Medievil Art at the Cloisters

    by Gypsystravels Updated Jan 16, 2008

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    I love coming to The Cloisters on a beautiful fall day. A subdivision of the Metropolitian Museum, this a monasterylike musuem located on a hill in Upper Manhattan in the Fort Tyron area overlooking fantastic views of the Hudson River

    There is a vast collections of Medievel Art and tapestries like the famous 16th Century Unicorn Tapestries and it is well worth that special trip just to view these magnificent tapestries.

    Open Tues-Sun 9:30 am - 5:15 pm, closed Monday

    The Unicorn Tapestry The Cloisters The outer courtyard The inner courtyard The detail

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  • The Cloisters

    by MariposaMaestra Updated Jul 7, 2006

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    Admission to the Metropolitan Museum (which is really just a donation, any price you can afford. I paid $7) also includes The Cloisters. The Cloisters is a recreated monastary in the most northern part of Manahattan just past Washington Heights. It's GORGEOUS I felt like a medieval monk. It's in Fort Tryon park which is equally beatiful and has great views of the Hudson river on the west side and the city on the east side. The surroundings are quite picturesque. The gardens of the cloister overlook the river and the museum itself is an amazing collection of architecture put together from monastaries all the way back from Roman times to Gothic architecture. The famous Unicorn tapestries are here and a must see. Take a free tour! They are short and sweet and you'll get alot more out of it if you know what you're looking at.

    Suggested iterary is to do the Metropolitan Museum in the early morning grab a lunch from a nearby deli, take to the Fort Tryon park and eat it overlooking the Hudson River and then visit the Cloisters in the afternoon and have a coffee in one of it's gardens.

    The easiest and cheapest way to get there is to take the M4 bus (which accepts the Metro card) from the Metropolitan museum(ask the very helpful information staff for exact location of bus stop which is only a block away). The ride is a little over an hour long, but you get to ride through Harlem and Spanish Harlem and on the way you can see the famous "Tom's Restaurant" of Seinfeld fame and Columbia University. The bus is a great way to see the city especially parts you just wouldn't get to on your own. However, ask the staff at The Cloisters how to get back using the subway. You don't want to do that bus ride twice.

    A Medieval Escape

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  • I-Believe-I-Can-Fly's Profile Photo

    Garden Tours

    by I-Believe-I-Can-Fly Written Dec 5, 2005

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    The Cloisters is surrounded by peaceful gardens planted according to horticultural information found in medieval treatises and poetry, garden documents and herbals.
    Aside from the impressive collection of medieval art, the Cloisters is worth visiting just for its lush gardens.

    There are also Garden Tours are offered Tue through Sun at 1pm in May, Jun, Sep, and Oct.

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  • I-Believe-I-Can-Fly's Profile Photo

    The Masterpiece Of The Cloisters

    by I-Believe-I-Can-Fly Written Dec 5, 2005

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    The famed set of seven South Netherlandish tapestries depicting "The Hunt of the Unicorn" was contributed by Mr. John D. Rockefeller from his own collection. The galleries in which the seven tapestries depicting "The Hunt of the Unicorn" are hung were refurbished in 1999. We got the full explanation of these tapestries from the guide on our Highlight Tour.

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Comments (1)

  • Jun 11, 2013 at 6:59 AM

    Just for clarification's sake, I wish to correct an error in what Gilibrand wrote in her review of the Cloisters: the buildings were not constructed in the 1930s. They are from Medieval Spain and France and were bought (I believe by the Rockefeller family) and shipped stone-by-stone and rebuilt on site at Fort Tryon Park. They ARE authentic and are not modern-day reproductions.

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