The Cloisters

Yesterday we went off to the noted museum in new york; The Cloisters.  I have never been there because it is in a very hard part of the city to get to, and, it is a very niche collection so when given a choice of how to spend time we always choose to be more downtown and get to see more in the day.  This time we decided we were going and set out on the 1.5h drive (that took 2.5) and lucked out with a great parking spot and also a very pretty day.

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The cloisters is basically a 14th and 15th-century European collection so I had told the kids that “everything you see in this museum we can do in the SCA” (the history group we do).  Convincing kids museums are fun isn’t ever easy unless there is a dinosaur involved but they are getting better at appreciating.  Anyway, the big surprise when we walked in was that they are doing a modern art exhibit for closing inspired by the collection.

Yup… that was a weird mix of awesome and fail at the same time.

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The dresses were outstanding, showing that high-end designers, when asked to make wearable art, can absolutely do it 110%.  They were also displayed perfectly in the spaces, truly showing that someone in charge was both artistic and skilled.

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I didn’t go crazy with pictures because I know I can get better detail from the online catalogs but seeing them in person is something special.  The unicorn tapestries were all they are ever hyped to be and recently reading a book they featured in made them more real to the kids.  Overall, having the kids do math about the items impressed them that they were inches away from things created 900 years ago.  To my European readers, I know, your post office is probably 900 years old but for us that is pretty impressive.

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The other excellent thing about this museum is that the building IS part of the exhibit.  Every door and window and most of the stones are from 14th and 15th-century monasteries.  I wish I had more time to look at everything but the impressive part that I’ll carry forward in my life is the walled garden.  I always thought the walls would make too much shade but this shows that plants in the center do very well and there is nice shade around the edges for sitting and looking at the garden.  Given I will be in a place with lots of land I may be experimenting with the concept since it will be a good way to keep out the wildlife and also create an interesting structure on our flat rectangle of land.

We left the pocket universe of the Cloisters and headed back and as if we needed more reasons not to live in the crazy land of long island we took nearly 4 hours to get back.  To give perspective, we can drive to the close part of Canada from our house in the same amount of time.  It did give me an opportunity to get a nice landscape picture while stopped on the bridge so that’s good at least.

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The day was not lost at all.  One of the very very best things about visiting family is that there are more adults in the system so things get handled.  My sister turned up at parents house and created dinner that was 10 min from done when we walked int.  Way better than facing dinner decisions after 4 road fried hours.  We topped off the night with a visit to the big boat with friends and floated at dock while the kids played and generally had fun.

Today Lars when home and now we enter into phase 2 of vacation – the solo mom adventure.

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