PHOTO ESSAY: Folks at The Cloisters

One of my favorite NYC outings is to take the A Train all the way up to 190th Street and walk thru Fort Tryon Park to The Cloisters.  The Met’s outpost for medieval religious (mostly) art sits atop a hill in the most un-Manhattan part of Manhattan.  It’s still rocky and hilly up here, and a view across the Hudson presents one with the vista of The Palisades, which is a much nicer view than Weehawken.  There are trees, actual virgin forest.

But it’s not the view or the trees that draw me up here.  It’s not even the “suggested” admission price (though that helps). I go because it’s like visiting old friends. Yes, I can get lost contemplating palimpsest of a Pollock or drown in the cool blue ocean of an Yves Klein. But The Cloisters is full of characters.

And they won’t shut up. It’s like being at a wonderful cocktail party where everyone keeps dropping the same name: Jesus’.

They’re always happy to see you…

"Did you make it alright? I hope the A Train wasn't too much of a hassle."

“Did you make it alright? I hope the A Train wasn’t too much of a hassle.”

One doesn't have to take public transportation to get here.

One doesn’t have to take public transportation to get here. Just remember to designate a donkey.

The drinks flow…

"Dude, you've got to try the chalice!"

“Dude, you have to try the chalice!”

On second thought, maybe don't try the chalice.

On second thought, maybe don’t try the chalice.

People even bring their pets. In tapestry form!…



I hear one-eyed dogs are good luck.

I hear one-eyed dogs are good luck.

Like any party, there’s always one guy who gets bored early and threatens to leave.


“Okay… I think I’m just gonna take off now. Just not feeling it. Unless you know someone with some myrrh.”

But then Balthazar shows up, and you know it’s going to get FABULOUS!…

"It's myrrrrrrh!"

“It’s myrrrrrrh!”

Of course, someone has to bring their obnoxious kid…

"Accept me as your tiny Messiah or I'll bean you with this apple."

“Accept me as your tiny Messiah or I’ll bean you with this apple.”


Some parents find creative ways to deal with unruly children at parties.

After a while it’s not the children you have to worry about…


You’d think a bishop would be able to handle his myrrh better. But give him props… the mitre stays on!

If you get a little out of control, Baby Jesus will bring you back…


“Talk to the tiny Hand (of God).”

Really, the only downside to The Cloisters is that the bathroom is all the way in the basement…

"The elevator's out?!? This outfit rusts, y'know."

“The elevator’s out?!? This outfit rusts, y’know.”

But then you hear the rooster crowing, and it’s time to go home…

"Will you people just leave already?"

“Will you people just leave already?”



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