A Meeting and Music at The Cloisters Museum

Elizabeth and I planned to meet uptown at The Cloisters Museum & Gardens a few days before I was scheduled to leave New York City. A friend from the blogging world, we’d read and commented on each other’s blogs for several months before we met and strengthened our connection offline.

Talk about six degrees of separation? About a year ago, I was on the phone with Elizabeth arranging our first meeting when friend of hers arrived. Accompanying her was a cousin of mine that I’d never met. I still shake my head when I think how unbelievable that was.

The Cloisters Museum & Garden
Entrance to the museum

So I was looking forward to catching up with Elizabeth again and excited to experience The Cloisters with her.

A branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters Museum & Gardens houses a fine collection of medieval art and manuscripts, illuminated books and Flemish tapestries.

The museum was created from an endowment from John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and built to resemble several European medieval abbeys. At least five buildings were taken apart, the bricks reassembled to create the museum which occupies its own campus north of Manhattan in Fort Tryon Park.

Despite a light rain and dark, ominous skies, the museum was bustling with people and activity. In addition to the beautiful tapestries, stained glass, sculptures and paintings for which The Cloisters is well-known, there was a sound installation of the reworked forty-voice motet, Spem in alium numquam habui by Thomas Tallis, in the Fuentidueña Chapel.

The installation, by Canadian multimedia artist Janet Cardiff, is the first presentation of contemporary art at The Cloisters. Forty speakers, one for each voice, have been mounted throughout the chapel, filling the museum with haunting choral sounds that seemed to follow us where ever we went. The installation will be on display until December 8, 2013.

The Cloisters Museum & Garden
View of Manhattan from The Cloisters

Elizabeth and I had planned to have a bite in the cafe and sit in the garden but the rain changed that plan. That only means that we’ll return when the weather’s better.

Visiting The Cloisters

The Cloisters Museum & Gardens is located at 99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort Tryon Park, New York. The museum is open 7 days from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Admission: Adults $25 (Recommended), free to members
Accessible to the M4 bus (The Cloisters/Fort Tryon Park), and ‘A’ train (190th Street station).
Free parking is available at Fort Tryon Park.
No flash photography allowed.

Linking up this week with Travel Photo Thursday, which Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox organizes. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.

26 comments on “A Meeting and Music at The Cloisters Museum

  1. Oh no, have you left NY? I’m having a very relaxing ride on Acela enroute to DC and before I turned on laptop I run through my head the things I need to follow-up on. Seriously, I thought about you and wondering if you were still around to meet up. Sorry if I missed you; next time.
    Also, this post is such a coincidence. Keith and I are going to see the Cardiff Motet exhibit this Saturday! Are the choral sounds really that haunting? Can’t wait to hear for myself.
    Marisol recently posted..The Mystic of Prayer Flags and Prayer WheelsMy Profile

  2. what a beautiful building and museum. I will have to add it to my list if I ever get to New York. And a lovely story about your blogging friend and your cousin. What a small world!Have a wonderful weekend ahead, and thank you for stopping by my blog this week.

  3. Only temporarily. I’ll be back next month, we’ll have time to catch up. Oh, I love the Acela, the best way to DC. Enjoy!
    It’s a moving, haunting, soul stirring, and unforgettable experience. You hear each voice individually and all the voices collectively.
    Can’t wait to hear what you think. Hopefully, Saturday will be a better day weather wise so you can enjoy the gardens as well.

  4. If you ever make it to NYC, Jackie, you should see it. It’s an incredible place that stirs the soul. Glad you like the tour.
    It’s great to meet fellow bloggers and people you’ve connected with online. Hope to meet you one of these days, Jackie!

  5. The Cloisters is a must see museum, Mary. If you ever make it back to NYC, you should try to visit.
    Actually, Elizabeth met my cousin before I did! It was a delightful coincidence.

  6. What a cool story about meeting your cousin that way! The Cloisters are beautiful, secluded and totally unexpected in a place like Manhattan. Amazing artifacts. Unfortunately, my memory of the Cloisters is touched with sadness. We were there on Easter Sunday 2006 (we had spent a wonderful 3 months in NYC because of my husband’s work). I loved the Cloisters, but I felt kind of strange all day. When we got back to the apartment, my sister called to tell me my dad in California had passed away suddenly. I was just thinking about all of this before I read your post, so I guess that’s why I’m blabbing so much.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..Alberobello: Trulli DifferentMy Profile

  7. Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that, Cathy.
    Interesting that you felt it before you heard the news. Even more interesting that the memory returned before you read my post.
    If only we knew how to read the signs, eh?
    Thanks for sharing this, Cathy.

  8. I would really love to visit the Cloisters someday. Unfortunately, it will not be before that Thomas Tallis sound installation is gone. I think that would really add to the atmosphere of the building and the works displayed in it. I had no idea that it was reconstructed from other buildings. I just thought it was completely “new” but based on a medieval style.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..Little India Preps for DeepavaliMy Profile

  9. It’s a really special place, Lisa, well worth a visit when you make it to NY.
    Truly amazing these happy accidents. And yes, they make you realize that there’s a greater force at work making even the smallest things possible.

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