Parking near Fort Tryon park for the Cloisters demo is a challenge. If at all possible, you are better off taking public transit to the site.
If, however, you are one of the people loading in equipment, then here is what you need to know to park on the day.
You do NOT need a parking pass to drive your vehicle on & off site at the beginning and end of the day. The parking pass also does not guarantee you a spot. It simply allows you to look for parking in the cordoned-off parking area at the head of Cabrini Blvd. (or in an internal parking lot, depending on where we are assigned by the festival coordinator).
If you are delayed in transit, and arrive after 10am, you will not be able to drive your car into the park. Instead, find parking and haul your stuff in manually. If you need unloading assistance, come to our demo location and ask for help — we will have wheeled carts that we have used to lug stuff onsite, which you may borrow.
With a parking pass
If you have previously arranged a parking pass with the demo coordinator seneschal at whytwhey.eastkingdom.org, then you arrive at the south entrance to the park at 9:30am to check in with the festival coordinator and receive your parking pass. The park opens before 9:30, and I encourage you to unload before checking in, if possible! Cars must be headed to parking by 10am, to clear the park for opening to the public around 11am.
Without a parking pass
Once you have unloaded your vehicle, you may drive off to find parking, either at a garage or on the street. Parking nearby fills up quickly, but if you are early you may be able to find something. Here is a map of nearby parking garages:
Parking garage #3 is not as useful as it appears in this aerial view, because you are walking straight up a hill (almost a cliff) to get into the park. The terrain is not your friend.
Cars will be allowed back into the park when the police indicate that it is safe to do so. We must wait for the public to walk out before we start driving in. The festival ends at 6pm. It takes time for 60,000 people to exit the very large park.
There is ALWAYS a traffic jam of entering vehicles. We are conveniently located just inside the south entrance, which eases our loading. Please take care not to block the roadway for others who are attempting to drive further into the park.
The easiest way to get to the Cloisters demo, mundanely known as the Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park, is to take the subway.
The 190th St. Station on the “A” train sits immediately outside of Fort Tryon Park, and this is the way most of our participants arrive. (It’s also the way many of the other 50,000 attendees will arrive, so the elevator up from the subway to the park can be fairly crowded, but that only takes a few minutes.)
For those coming from outside the city via Amtrak, NJ Transit, or regional bus, you can board the A train at Penn Station or the Port Authority bus terminal; from MetroNorth or LIRR take the Shuttle from Grand Central to Times Square to connect to the A train.
Driving & Parking
Obviously the train is not going to make sense for folks who are lugging lots of gear or heavy equipment, and this particular train station is not wheelchair-accessible, so in those cases driving to the site is worth the hassle.
We’re able to wrangle a limited number of parking passes from the event organizers, but be prepared for delays getting on and off site, because it can take a long time to get vehicles into the parking area, you may have to park some distance away from our field, and when the event is over and you’re ready to leave you will find yourself in the middle of a miniature traffic jam that takes a while to clear.
If you need a parking pass, you mustcontact the event steward (Alienor Salton) in advance so we can try to reserve you a pass. If you don’t have a parking pass, you will need to find on-street parking some distance away from the event and then walk back to the site.
If you’re driving from outside the city, you might want to stop at some distance from the event and look for on-street parking (or pay $25 or more for a parking lot) and then take the city subway for a few minutes to reach the site. If you know several people who are coming in separate vehicles, it may be worth the effort to meet up somewhere just outside the city where parking is easy and then car-pool in from there to reduce the parking hassle.
The closest street address to the park entrance is 799 Fort Washington Ave:
The map attached below highlights some spots on this map to give you a sense of where we’ll be within the overall site area, and where the parking and transit options are.
The event attendee booklet includes a map showing the various areas within the park, drawn with East at the top of the page and the entrance to the event on the right — we’re the “South Lawn Village,” shown in gold, the first large open space after coming through the front gate.
The event officially begins at 11:30, but if you are driving gear on to the site, you should arrive before 9:30.
• 8:30 Site opens for setup, and vehicles may be driven in through main site entrance to deliver materials.
• 9:00 We unload equipment and begin setting up tents and preparing for the event.
• 10:00 All vehicles must be cleared from the park to the parking area or further away.
• 11:00 Site should be ready as members of the public sometimes start trickling in early.
The event ends at 6:00 at which point we will begin packing up:
• 6:00 We begin breaking down tents and putting things away.
• 6:30 or 7:00 Vehicles are allowed back into the park to pick up equipment once the public has dispersed.
• 8:30 Everyone must be off site by the time the park closes for the night.
Please join us this coming Thursday, September 21st, at 7pm, at our usual place, 255 W. 105th St., #21, for a canton commons, followed by an arts & sciences Evening in the Solar.
The Commons agenda will include planning for our upcoming Cloisters demo at Fort Tryon Park Medieval Festival, as well as discussion of provincial and canton officer positions turning over at the end of this year. We will also discuss the schola in the solar we have scheduled for the end of October.
The A&S portion of the evening will include sharing learning & handouts from Pennsic, as well as a knitting tutorial by Caitlin S. Kits will be provided. Please bring any handouts or URLs you would like to share.
Your hostess Alienor Salton is still suffering from a viral infection, so will NOT be offering the usual tastiness. Please bring your own dinner. (If I am still coughing too much, an alternate host will be provided for the evening.)