The Cloisters Museum in Spring

Morning at the Met, Afternoon at the Cloisters

Morning at the Met, Afternoon at the Cloisters

Spring has officially arrived, opening up all sorts of possibilities for outdoor activities in New York. With a New York Attractions Pass, you can see the best of New York: from the Top of the Rock and the Empire State Building to the Guggenheim Museum and Central Park. Many visitors make it a point to visit the famous Metropolitan Museum of Art, which houses more than two million works of art from all over the world.

The Met Museum is housed in an iconic building on Fifth Avenue, and is a comprehensive collection of European, Asian, Near Eastern, African, Egyptian, Greek and Roman art, as well as art of Oceania, Australia, and the Americas. Yet as amazing as the Met is, it can also be somewhat overwhelming. Where do you start? Impressionists? Ancient Egypt? The European art alone could take you a week to appreciate.

For those who are in the mood for a slightly more peaceful museum experience, the Cloisters Museum and Gardens is any idyllic location in the middle of the city. It is located on four acres of riverfront property in northern Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park and contains a wealth of medieval art and sculpture, housing approximately 3,000 pieces dating from the ninth to the sixteenth century. (Your New York Attractions pass gets you same-day access to both the Met and to the Cloisters).

The building itself is modeled after five medieval French cloisters, with quadrangle galleries set under a vaulted passageway. The collection emphasizes the Romanesque and Gothic periods of European art and architecture, containing gorgeous art and sculpture as well as illuminated manuscripts, stained glass, metalwork, enamels, ivories, and ornate tapestries.

Some highlights include: a refurbished collection of seven tapestries depicting The Hunt of the Unicorn; an early-fifteenth-century French illuminated book; a twelfth-century ivory cross attributed to the English abbey of Bury Saint Edmunds; stained-glass windows from the castle chapel at Ebreichsdorf, Austria; a stone Virgin of the mid-thirteenth century from the choir screen of Strasbourg Cathedral in France; The Antioch Chalice dated to 500BC; and stained-glass scenes from The Legend of Saint Vincent of Saragossa and the History of His Relics.

With springtime upon us, the Cloisters Museum and Gardens is the perfect way to get the museum experience partially outdoors. After a morning spent at the Met, use a beautiful spring afternoon to enjoy a peaceful walk through the gardens and galleries. You will feel as if you were in a different time and place!

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