Tag Archives: The Cloisters

Birds at the Cloisters, in Chelsea, and Sleepy Hollow

Over the past several weeks, I was able to interact with the local fauna, namely birds.

My friend Caroline and I went up to the Cloisters, taking the train all the way up to Fort Tryon Park. This was our annual pilgrimage. We walked through the park and got to the Cloisters pretty early. Nonetheless, it was packed, being a holiday weekend. We were, however, able to avoid most of the crowds. We took, instead, photos of the architecture and flora. We got some great pics.

We have taken so many photos of the art in the Cloisters that neither one of us was the least bit interested in taking any more photos. We were parched and went to the little cafe in the Cloisters to get something to drink, and Caroline was hungry. We were stunned to find that the birds flying around the courtyard where the cafe and seating is located landed very close to us and walked within inches of where we were. What did we do? Why we took pictures, of course!

Caroline gets advice on nature photography from expert

Caroline gets advice on nature photography from expert

The most  interesting one I have already posted, the bird that landed on Caroline’s hand and cell phone, (I’ve posted it again), but it needs a bit more of an explanation. Caroline was surprised by the bird’s attempt to land on her, and there was some guy there with a big camera with a very long lens who snapped photo after photo of the action. My camera is small and cannot simply snap photos one after the other. (It might be able to, but the setting would have to be changed.) I was able to get the one close-up where the bird does, indeed, look as if he is giving Caroline advice. (She latter tweeted the pic.) The man showed us the photos in his camera, then walked away. He never offered to send Caroline copies of the photos, in which he caught Caroline’s surprise and shock. I thought that this was in poor taste. After all, if you take a clear, close-up photo of someone, it only seems right to offer the person a copy.

Weeks later, I walked to the Magnolia Bakery in Chelsea with two friends. We ate our goodies across the street in a little park. The birds there came right up to us, basically begging for some food. Baked goods always have crumbs, so I started tossing crumbs to the birds, which quickly gobbled them up, at which point the pigeons, who were a distance away, came running. (Probably had the cute birds trolling food.)

Finally, I snapped some pics of the Canada goslings that were born this spring. Last year I snapped some photos of goslings that resembled fuzz balls. This year, I got the babies when they were a bit older.



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Filed under Nature, New York City, Sleepy Hollow

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Caroline gets advice on nature photography from expert

Caroline gets advice on nature photography from an expert

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Filed under Museums

Back to the Cloisters

(2014-07-11 068)Last year around this time, my friend Caroline and I headed up to the Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park at the tip of Manhattan. This time we picked a really nice, although humid, day to visit. The Cloisters is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but it is faraway from Uptown; the A stop for Fort Tryon is 191st Street.

The paths into the park are lined with beautiful plants. The views of the Hudson are spectacular, and you can see the George Washington Bridge from right inside the park entrance.

I just love the look of the Cloisters. It’s hard to believe that this museum was cobbled together from the ruins of churches, nunneries and monasteries from World War I. The Rockefellers had the ruins transported to New York where they brought together all the different parts into one beautiful building. When you go up the steps, you are in a courtyard. Turn to the left, and the double doors at the entrance are wide open in welcome. Friendly museum staff are there to assist you, like the guy above who, Caroline assured me, had been here last year when we visited. (She has a terrific memory.) As a schoolteacher, Caroline used to bring her 6th grade class to the Cloisters, and the staff did wonderful presentations and were very nice to the students. After our visit, we ate lunch at the New Leaf Restaurant in the park.

Enough babbling. Following are images of objects in (and parts of) the Cloisters.

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Filed under Art, Museums, New York City

Fort Tryon and the Cloisters

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Fort Tryon given in 1935 to New York City by John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

A friend and I went on a trip to the Cloisters. Taking the A train to 190th Street, we got off, took the elevator in the station, and walked through Fort Tryon Park , which is truly beautiful. Of all New York City parks, my friend likes this one the best.

An arch in Fort Tryon Park

The Cloisters was built by the Rockefellers. There is no other place like it in the world. According to my friend, who was a schoolteacher for years and knows the story because of all the trips she took with her schoolchildren, the Cloisters was built from the remains of churches that were destroyed during the First World War. The art was taken from all these different churches from across Europe as well. The materials were brought to New York and reassembled into one building.

Three different windows in the Cloisters

Photography is not allowed in the Cloisters. The collection of art is spectacular, but the building itself, with all the radically-different parts, is part of the spectacle. I was quite tempted NOT to respect the no cameras rule, but I did not.

There are two outside courtyards in the Cloisters. (There’s actually a third, but it has an artificially-added, modern roof.) We vaguely remembered an herb garden, which is located downstairs with “the treasury,” a traditional museum area with the materials protected in glass cases.

By the time we made our way out of the herb garden, we were hungry. There’s a great restaurant in the park, New Leaf. This place has wonderful food. Because we didn’t have a reservation, we sat at the bar. The young guy behind the counter was adorable; I just wanted to pinch his cheeks. He was so polite and had a great sense of humor. (His parents must be very proud of him.)

We had a wonderful time. What a great place to spend part of the day.

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Filed under Museums, New York City, Travel