The Cloisters – #ThursdayDoors

The doorway into the cloister.

This Thursday Doors post is challenging, for two reasons. First. The Cloisters, a recreation of a 13th, 14th and 15th century monastery, is full of wonderful doors. If you find that sentence curious, it’s because The Cloisters was built by John D. Rockefeller from the remnants of at least five European monasteries and stones quarried from the quarry that supplied material to at least one of those historic sites. John D. gave the museum and the four-acre park (Ft. Tryon) that it sits on to the City of New York, and the Metropolitan Museum system. Sitting atop the Washington Heights area of Manhattan, it gives visitors majestic views of the Hudson River and New Jersey coast. Rockefeller also purchased several hundred acres of land on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, to preserve the quality of those views from the grounds. Earlier this week, I shared some pictures from the grounds of The Cloisters.

Wait, you said there were two reasons.

Yes, the second reason is the fact that at least two people have already featured The Cloisters for Thursday Doors. A couple of years ago, Thursday Doors’ own Norm Frampton visited The Cloisters in between rounds of a tennis tournament in New York. Earlier this year, Sherry Felix featured doors from The Cloisters in her Thursday Doors post (you should read that post). Sherry adds a bit of personal history we don’t normally associate with The Cloisters, in that when Sherry was an Urban Park Ranger, she reenacted Margaret Corbin’s story in the revolutionary war. Margaret Corbin, a nurse, and her husband were among 600 soldiers defending then Fort Washington from 4,000 attacking Hessian troops under British command during the Revolutionary War. You can read this story at Wikipedia, (Sherry was kind enough to include a link). After her husband fell in battle, Margaret continued to clean, load and fire their cannon. Margaret Corbin became the first woman in U.S. history to receive a pension from Congress for military service.

The history of The Cloisters is much more complicated and involved at least one additional significant player than mentioned in the few sentences in the opening paragraph. If you’re interested in the story, check out the Metropolitan Museum’s own history page.

If you’re new to the Internet phenomenon that is Thursday Doors, you have to thank our benefactor, Norm Frampton. Norm has created and maintains a virtual museum of door imagery from around the world, without the cost and effort of disassembling the doors, transporting and reassembling them in Canada. That’s a good thing, because most of these doors are still in use, protecting people from the elements of nature. Entry to this virtual museum is free. Simply visit Norm’s site, view his doors, and then look for the amphibious docent (little blue frog). Click on that guy to be guided into the international list of galleries. If you discover or have already collected some door photos, please share them with us through Norm’s list.

Between the history that has been told and the doors that have been featured, the challenge to me was to find at least a few new doors to share with you today. The gallery includes a few repeats, as well as some doors which I don’t think were included in those earlier posts.


  1. Beautiful and interesting! I’ve always loved stone doorways. Dan I’m not going to be posting for a few days as my computer is off getting a haircut. I thought I could continue from my tablet but it won’t let me. I didn’t want you to worry. At least I can still read everyone else’s! Love this one Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OH NO!!! I’m going to miss the Shady Quip?

      Thanks for coming by and reading, Pam. I love stone almost anything. Stone doorways amaze me since there’s no wiggle room on fitting a door in there – it has to be right. Considering that these doors and most of these stoned were already hundreds of years old, that’s no easy task.


  2. What an amazing selection of doors including the wood they were made with, the hardware, and the size and shape. It blows my mind to think about craftsmen doing the stone work and the woodworking required to make some of those doors. Amazing. I’ve never been there so I appreciated the tour. When I was a child, an uncle oversaw an orchard for the Rockefellers, and I remember going to visit one Thanksgiving. To this day, I can still remember the huge barn where all the apples were stored in huge crates. Good memory. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The place is truly something special; I’d visit it again in a heartbeat. I love the creative close-up shot you got of the iron hinge Dan, I think that was one of the oldest doors in the place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Norm. All the times I’ve been to New York, having not gone there before remains a mystery to me. I am going to go back with my daughter, maybe after the gardens are in bloom. I mentioned to Judy that there is a separate Garden Tour available in spring and summer.

      I wanted to add something to that door. I think you have a better image of the door itself.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Teagan. I can only guess as to where your imagination would take you in this place. Especially since there are some rooms, like the Chapter Room that are mostly empty – fertile ground for thinking.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lois. I’m glad you like that. I haven’t seen it supported anywhere, but I think hinges were larger back then because they also served to hold the doors together. But I love how the iron workers took the time to make the utilitarian hinge into a work of art.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This place is amazing! I am always in awe of the men who designed and then created these fabulous structures. And without the help of electric tools. And things were certainly built to last back then, and how fortunate for us to be able to still enjoy their beauty. Even reconstructed, the Cloisters is an awesome structure.

    I love the pitting in the stones and in some of those magnificent doors. And the door hinges and decorative hardware. Those arches are incredible.

    Wonderful tour Dan. Thanks so much for sharing. I would’ve never seen it otherwise.

    I think MiMi wants you to crank up that wood stove. And I hope Galloping Grandma isn’t jogging with her walker the next time you and Maddie go out for a stroll. I think the redhead has had enough group walks to last her for quite some time. 😜
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ginger. I feel like you do when I go into these places. Knowing something about how buildings and furniture are made (today) I am in total awe of the period craftsmen who built these places. Even the simple benches along the walls would be a challenge to build without modern tools.

      That these doors, walls and tapestries are in as good of condition as they are, after hundreds of years, is truly amazing.

      MiMi has been campaigning for a fire for weeks. I think she’s about to get her wish. I promised Maddie that we will go on a long walk this weekend and that I’ll figure out how to avoid people and That Woman!


      • My dad restored beautiful antiques, so our house was often filled with them. I didn’t care much for them at the time, but I love them now. Wish I had some of them. But, as you’ve guessed by now, I love that weathered, rustic stuff. The more beat up the better. It telss a story and I love it.


  5. I loved your post on the Cloisters. You all three have a different eye and thoughts about what you’re seeing and experiencing.

    The images of the ironwork, the intricately carved doors, stone and, wood, and your view looking down the steps to the door are all wonderful.

    The history you provided makes it all come to life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Deborah. It’s always interesting to see what different people focus on (no pun intended). Sometimes, when I’m with my daughter, and I see here setting up for a shot, I think “what is that girl taking a picture of?” But then when I see it, I’m impressed.

      I love learning the history of the places I go. This one goes back further than I covered, which is very interesting, It seems like it was all about one man having money when others didn’t. At least he was feeling generous.

      Stone, wood, iron work are all favorite topics for me, so this place was a home run.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It wasnt until adulthood that I came to realize and understand my great grandmothers pride in the work of masons. Her grandfather was one “in the old country”. So love how they turned back time in NYC!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Such a great tour guide of the Cloisters, you are :) Amazing architecture in each of your Cloisters posts. I think my favorite is the window, I almost thought it was a lamp, the way the sun shines in.

    Liked by 1 person

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