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Chronicles: The Cloisters

The CloistersHigh above Manhattan, in northern Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park, sits a strange site of what appears to be a medieval monastery overlooking the Hudson River. This complex of buildings, including a bell tower, is The Cloisters. Loved by New Yorkers for its idyllic setting and lack of tourists, The Cloisters is the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s medieval European art wing housing thousands of pieces of medieval works, most famously the Unicorn tapestries.
The building itself is a work of art, cobbled together from five medieval, French cloisters: Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa, Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, Bonnefont-en-Comminges, Trie-en-Bigorre, and Froville. These disassembled European buildings were reassembled in Fort Tryon Park (1934/38) in a setting with gardens planted according to horticultural information culled from various medieval documents and artifacts.

The museum and adjacent park are thanks to John D. Rockefeller, who endowed them to the museum, completing the building in 1938. Rockefeller also purchased and donated to the State of New Jersey several hundred acres of the New Jersey Palisades on the other side of the Hudson River in order to preserve the view for the museum.
The museum is easily accessible by public bus and entry fee is a suggested donation of $20.
The Cloisters
99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort Tryon Park, New York, New York 10040 – 212-923-3700

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