The Cloisters – Exteriors

“The building is set into a steep hill, and thus the rooms and halls are divided between an upper entrance and a ground-floor level. The enclosing exterior building is mostly modern, and is influenced by and contains elements from the 13th-century church at Saint-Geraud at Monsempron, France, from which the northeast end of the building borrows especially. It was mostly designed by the architect Charles Collens, who took influence from works in Barnard’s collection. Rockefeller closely managed both the building’s design and construction, which sometimes frustrated the architects and builders.

The building contains architecture elements and settings taken mostly from four French abbeys, which between 1934 and 1939 were transported, reconstructed, and integrated with new buildings in a project overseen by Collins. He told Rockefeller that the new building “should present a well-studied outline done in the very simplest form of stonework growing naturally out of the rocky hill-top. After looking through the books in the Boston Athenaeum … we found a building at Monsempron in Southern France of a type which would lend itself in a very satisfactory manner to such a treatment.”

The architects sought to both memorialize the north hill’s role in the American Revolution and to provide a sweeping view over the Hudson River. Construction of the exterior began in 1935. The stonework, primarily of limestone and granite from several European sources, includes four Gothic windows from the refectory at Sens and nine arcades. The dome of the Fuentidueña Chapel was especially difficult to fit into the planned area. The east elevation, mostly of limestone, contains nine arcades from the Benedictine priory at Froville and four flamboyant French Gothic windows from the Dominican monastery at Sens.” (Wikipedia).

Taken with a Fuji X-E1 and Fuji XC 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OSS II

The Cloisters – Overview

Back in July I went with a friend to The Cloisters. For any non New Yorkers reading this The Cloisters “is a museum in Fort Tryon Park in Washington Heights, Manhattan, New York City, specializing in European medieval art and architecture, with a focus on the Romanesque and Gothic periods. Governed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it contains a large collection of medieval artworks shown in the architectural settings of French monasteries and abbeys. Its buildings are centered around four cloisters—the Cuxa, Saint-Guilhem, Bonnefont and Trie—that were acquired by American sculptor and art dealer George Grey Barnard in France before 1913, and moved to New York. Barnard’s collection was bought for the museum by financier and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Other major sources of objects were the collections of J. P. Morgan and Joseph Brummer.

The museum’s building was designed by the architect Charles Collens, on a site on a steep hill, with upper and lower levels. It contains medieval gardens and a series of chapels and themed galleries, including the Romanesque, Fuentidueña, Unicorn, Spanish and Gothic rooms. The design, layout, and ambiance of the building are intended to evoke a sense of medieval European monastic life. It holds about 5,000 works of art and architecture, all European and mostly dating from the Byzantine to the early Renaissance periods, mainly during the 12th through 15th centuries. The varied objects include stone and wood sculptures, tapestries, illuminated manuscripts and panel paintings, of which the best known include the c. 1422 Early Netherlandish Mérode Altarpiece and the c. 1495–1505 Flemish Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries.”

It’s taken me so long to post these because I took a lot of pictures – so many beautiful things.

View of the Hudson River from The Cloisters.

Taken with a Fuji X-E1 and Fuji XC 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OSS II

The last kosher deli in The Bronx

My visiting friend George and I went for lunch at Liebman’s Deli in The Bronx, apparently the last (there were once around 100) Kosher deli in The Bronx.

“Manhattan, with its towering temples of cured meat and pickles, is the spiritual home of the Jewish delicatessen. At places like the Second Avenue Deli, Katz’s and the Carnegie Deli, the remnants of a bygone era live on in the form of overstuffed (and expensive) sandwiches and signed portraits of notable noshers. The institution has lately been revived by chic interpretations around the city, like the Mile End delis. But at Liebman’s Kosher Delicatessen, on West 235th Street in the Bronx, where they’ve been slinging pastrami and brisket for more than six decades, no one seems to care much about New York’s deli resurgence, or think that it needed one in the first place.

When Joseph Liebman opened his restaurant in 1953, close to 100 delis vied for the attention of corned beef lovers across the Bronx. Today, Liebman’s is one of just two that remain [Note: the second deli: Loeser’s Deli closed in 2019]. From the simple “Liebman’s Delicatessen” neon sign (which includes the word “kosher” in Hebrew), to the no-frills Formica tabletops and padded booths, the restaurant has none of the flash or kitschy embellishments of the deli empires to the south.

In 1980, a native of Israel named Joseph Dekel purchased Liebman’s with the intention of preserving its original recipes. When Mr. Dekel died in 2002, his son, Yuval Dekel, who was only 24, took over. The younger Mr. Dekel was an unlikely deli man; he made a living at the time as a drummer in a heavy metal band called Irate.

“I used to come into the deli as a kid and eat while waiting around for my dad,” Mr. Dekel recalled, “or help in the kitchen making knishes. But I was a musician. I never anticipated I would be running the place.” For a while he kept up both professions. “On many occasions our band would play this great late-night show, then I would show up early the next morning at the deli,” he said. These days he still plays the drums for fun, but has made Liebman’s his professional home.” (New York Times, October 2014).

I had the Liebman’s Favorite: Hot Open Sandwich with Pastrami and Corned Beef with homemade ‘Thick’ cut fried potatoes, stuffed Derma and Gravy. I had a yen to try the Knishes so I ordered two potato knishes, one round and one square. Unfortunately they came out first and by the time I’d sampled them I didn’t feel like eating the main course. So after a few bites I took it home where it fed me for a couple of days. The food was great and the portions huge.

Taken with a Fuji X-E1 and Fuji XF 18mm f2 R