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A Trip to Remember

The+Cloisters
The Cloisters

The Cloisters

The Cloisters

Hunter Neuman, Staff Writer

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Last month, the students in the Humanities course went on a field trip to St. John the Divine and the Cloisters. Humanities is an honors course for sophomores that consists of two subjects:  English and history. The English teacher is Mrs. Oppedisano, and the history teacher is Mr. Hutchinson. The curriculum revolves around European history and arts/literature, and the trip took place during the Middle Ages unit.

This field trip has been going on for at least 35 years, with Mrs. Oppedisano running it for eight to nine years. “I think field trips help you take a break from all the work we load onto you,” Oppedisano said. “They help you think ‘I can walk in these halls and feel moved.’”

The first stop of the trip was to the Cloisters, which is a Middle Ages museum in the Upper Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights. The Cloisters features rooms modeled in both Romanesque and Gothic styles of architecture. A centerpiece of the museum is a charming monastic garden in the center of the building. In the basement, there are many medieval artifacts, such as old eating utensils and reliquaries.

“My favorite area in the Cloisters was the unicorn room,” said Humanities student Jiho Park (‘20). “The room had many interesting tapestries of unicorns, and they had a real narwhal horn too, which was interesting to see.”

After the Cloisters, students and staff went to eat pizza at V&T Pizzeria, on Amsterdam Avenue, directly across the street from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Many students also visited Insomnia Cookies, which is located next to the pizzeria. The lunch break was a nice way for students from different periods to interact with each other, and to enjoy good food.

The final stop of the trip was St. John the Divine, the as yet unfinished Episcopal cathedral and landmark of Upper Manhattan. The cathedral is modeled similarly to the Gothic cathedrals of the medieval times. It is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, at an astonishing 601 feet. The building features beautiful stained glass windows, a staple of Gothic cathedrals. These stained glass windows, a discussion of which was included in the tour, were more modernized than ones typically seen in Europe. Some of them were based on specific subjects in literature.

Exterior of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Above the entrance of the cathedral is a large stained glass rose window, with Jesus Christ in the middle. It is an optical illusion of sorts because the window appears much smaller than it actually is. The figure of Christ in the middle is actually life-sized, about 5’, 7” in height. There is a beautiful high altar, with an organ, and symbols of Christianity as well as other religions. “I found it awe-inspiring how large the cathedral was, and how small it made me feel,” said Lawrence Lim (‘20), another Humanities student. “Seeing the sun shine through the stained glass in the eastern part of the structure was magnificently beautiful.”

Overall, the trip was a great experience for the Humanities students. It allowed the students to discover and appreciate the wondrous works of the Middle Ages.

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About the Writer
Hunter Neuman, Sports Editor
Hunter Neuman (’20), Sports Editor, loves playing soccer and hopes to one day become a sports journalist. He is an avid fan of the Premier League, and his favorite team is Manchester United. In his spare time, he enjoys to play FIFA with his friends.
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