Monday, May 28, 2007

Take the (Medieval) A Train

Yesterday, I decided to venture forth to the upper western reaches of the Isle of Manhattan in search of a little peace and quiet. I headed for The Cloisters. Lots of folks had recommended place to me, so I wanted to check it out for myself. It's one of John D. Rockefeller's little gifts to New York and a part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I wasn't as interested in the art as I was in finding a little refuge and calm after the chaos of the last few weeks. So I packed a journal - in hopes of settling in a cool niche and unloading on paper - and worked my way up to Fort Tryon Park on the Hudson.

You'd think getting from the upper-upper east side of Spanish Harlem to the upper-upper-upper west side of Manhattan wouldn't be so hard, but listen, sista', it's quite a convoluted little subway ride: 6 train at 116th to 4 train at 125th to D train at 161/Yankee Stadium to A train at 145th, then take the A train up to Dyckman/200th. Whew! But it only took about 30 minutes, believe it or not.

Fort Tryon Park was lovely. Instead of riding the bus to the top of the overlook where The Cloisters is located, I opted to walk up. Very serene and green. Alas, serenity was not the order of the day at The Cloisters. Yes, I realize it was Memorial Day weekend, but still, I'd been led to believe that the place offered some thinking space. It didn't. The place was packed - seems no one came for serenity. Sigh.

Still, The Cloisters has a phenomenal collection of medieval art, gardens, and real French (I think) "cloisters" brought over by Mr. Rockefeller's bucks. And it was cool and dark inside. Too bad it was full of whiny chirruns and loud-talkin' tourists. (Try taking pictures and having to wait for hoards of orange t-shirt wearers to clear the shots . . . )

But give it up for JD for buying up the hilltop and the land across the Hudson - spectacular river views from the balconies. I highly recommend the place - just not for someone searching for a little peace. Guess I'll have to find that somewhere else.

Enjoy the last few hours of the holiday, darlins!


Liz said...

It sounds delicious. Shame about the people. They always get in the way, don't they?!

When we're rich and famous writers we'll create our own cloisters just for us. And maybe leave them to the country after we've gone.

MaryB said...

Splendid idea, Liz! A writer's colony where we each have our own little niche (in every sense of the word) - turrets galore and plenty of chocolate. Mmmmm.

Stitches212 said...

A friend turned me onto your Blog a few months ago and as an expat southern girl I love it!... Your comments bring back so many memories of my first years in NYC... I had totally forgotten about Luzianne and of course had to immediately go online and order a case (or 2) with the hot summer weather approaching... Those relatives back home are too unreliable with the care packages and a girl needs a fix once in a while (and those grits on a cold morning are a must!)

Defintely try the Cloisters again for a little solitude, but go on a nice sunny fall weekday when the pear trees are dripping with fruit and it's the best... Also, take the M4 bus up Madison which takes you to the front door and you get a great tour of upper Manhattan... Enjoy!!!

MaryB said...

Welcome stitches212 - good to hear from another southern girl! As I said in my comment to Liz on the Luzianne blog, I'm sure I could order the tea and grits online, but I wanted to do the manipulative magnolia-girl thing and wait for a gentleman (or woman) to come to my rescue. Thank goodness for Winston in Tennessee!

I will definitely give The Cloisters another try. It is lovely - I'm sure it must be breath-taking in the fall.