I love to visit New York and now that my son is a freshman in college on Long Island, our trips to this great state are becoming more frequent. Our last trip was to help him move in, and once he was settled, we took off on the Long Island Railroad for a day in Manhattan.
First stop was to The Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe. I have been wanting to visit for years, ever since I read Tracy Chevalier's The Lady and the Unicorn and fell in love with the idea of medieval tapestries and the stories contained in them. The Cloisters' Unicorn Tapestries are a different set than those featured in The Lady and the Unicorn, but they were magnificent to see in person nonetheless. I confess that seeing this one in person took my breath away.
When I got home, I promptly ordered a William Morris counted cross-stitch pattern to satisfy my need to create something beautiful and medieval-inspired. I haven't done a counted cross-stitch project in years, but perhaps the promised "Chart #2 (tired eyes) 4 page enlarged chart that eases eye strain" will help.
Apart from the Unicorn Tapestries, my favorite part of The Cloisters were the cloisters--the gardens enclosed by arches, with the campanile in the background. I spent a good part of our visit roaming the gardens, conveniently partitioned by function...plants for medicine, plants for magic, plants for arts and crafts, etc. After reading about indigo, madder, woad, and weld, it was so interesting to see the plants in the flesh, so to speak.
The Cloisters is definitely an enchanting museum, worth the effort to reach (on the upper part of Manhattan) but simply magnificent in treasures and overall atmosphere.
After lunch at the Met on 5th Avenue (we took the bus, which took about an hour from The Cloisters, but we wanted to see the city and not be just underground), we rode the subway down to Chelsea and found an access point to the High Line. The High Line is an elevated city park, repurposed from a former RR line, it is an aerial greenway on which you can walk above the hustle and bustle of NYC, enjoying a different perspective and a different pace.
|View from the High Line.|
My goal was to visit both West Point and Hyde Park, home of FDR. Unfortunately all that stopping along the way to take pictures meant that we really didn't have time for the bus tour and museum at West Point, so we did a drive by and continued on to Hyde Park.
|Hyde Park driveway|
|Hyde Park, home of Frankin Delano Roosevelt|
I've long been a fan of FDR, not only his policies but his strength of purpose and optimism. Regardless of whether you agree with his politics or not, I think most people would agree that he was a born leader. I loved the museum at Hyde Park but didn't feel we had time to really do it justice. However, being able to tour the house and see where the family spent their time will provide a new dimension to when I read up on FDR and Eleanor again.
I was going to close with a photo of the tomb of FDR and Eleanor, but I think this is a better image, and one more positive than a marble box.
|Sitting room at Hyde Park|
As luck would have it, we'll be returning to NY at the end of September for Parents Weekend, and I'm currently looking for new ideas for a day trip to Manhattan. Any suggestions?