For the first time since the late Sixties, I went up to the Cloisters by myself this afternoon. Now that I’m in my early sixties, I guess I’m old enough.
I went on a mission. Monday is Labor Day, and summer hours end tomorrow. The prospect of reverting to Matins, Lauds, &c when posting everyday links in the Daily Office made me think that some monastic imagery might be appropriate — and what could be a better source of such imagery than the Cloisters?
I’d have gone tomorrow afternoon, had I been able to find someone willing to spend the final allotment of summer hours in my priceless company. But I wasn’t. And the weather promised to be rather nicer today; it’s supposed to warm up tomorrow. In any case, I was dying to get out of the house. So I decided to see this week’s Friday movie a day ahead of time, and to proceed from the theatre up to Fort Tryon Park.
No big deal. The movie, Elegy, was showing at the Angelika. When it was over, I hopped right back to the Broadway-Lafayette/Bleecker Street station and took the first uptown IND train. One stop away, at West 4th, I ascended an escalator and stood at the platform marked “A.” I didn’t have to wait long. Within half an hour, I was ascending an elevator, from the depths of Manhattan to the heights of Fort Washington Avenue.
(“Wow, I can do this! Go directly from Broadway and Houston to Upstate Manhattan!” You can tell that I grew up in the suburbs.)
At the Cloisters, I felt like a booster, because I’d been reading John Colapinto’s New Yorker article about shoplifters on the train (the piece is not online, sadly). I clipped through the galleries on my way to the Brie Cloister as though I were making a beeline for booty. As indeed I was: time for lunch! (It’s the “Trie” Cloister, of course, but now that they have a food stall that sells baguette sandwiches and wraps, fruit, snacks and drinks, I get confused.)
Then I took a lot of pictures, in about fifteen minutes. I tried but failed to escape the gift shop without making any purchases (who knew that John Freely — the father, presumably, of Orhan Pamuk’s translator, Maureen Freely — wrote a book about Istanbul? Shelved right next to Orhan Pamuk’s book of the same name. Çok güzel!).
Passing by the New Leaf Café on my walk back to the subway, I made a note of their hours. I’m going to try to have lunch up there in a few weeks, as soon as I dream up another mission.