On my walks to and from work, I have often noted how people from the neighborhoods surrounding The Cloisters museum and gardens gather in the evenings in Fort Tryon Park to watch the sun as it dips below the Palisades to the west. People jogging, pushing strollers, walking dogs, sitting on benches, or lounging on blankets in the grass are all drawn to the sweeping vistas over the Hudson River. This view, long protected from large-scale development, is now under threat. LG, the Korean electronics company, is in the process of creating a corporate headquarters directly across the river from The Cloisters. In this post, I am not only hoping to build greater awareness of this project but am asking people to get involved in convincing LG to revise its plans, which would alter these majestic views for future generations. While this is an issue that we care deeply about at the museum, it also has broader implications for all who come to this corner of Manhattan seeking temporary relief from the hustle and bustle of urban life.
From its beginnings, The Cloisters was intimately connected with the lands around it. The rocky, wild site of the museum, emulating the remote setting of a medieval monastery, dramatically accentuated the sense of being transported in time and place. At the public opening of The Cloisters on May 10, 1938, one of the key celebrants was John D. Rockefeller, Jr. His vision and philanthropy had not only brought the museum into being, but had created the surrounding Fort Tryon Park. Whether from the ramparts of the newly completed building or from the long walkways along the park’s western slopes, the project took full advantage of the unparalleled views up and down the Hudson River and west toward the Palisades.