Here are a few tips on getting to and from the Cloisters Medieval Festival:
Take the A Train
The best way to reach the festival is to take the “A” train to the 190th St. station, then follow the crowds up the elevators and into the park. (This is 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 it only takes a few minutes.)
When you reach the park, walk through the main gate and continue down the road for another minute until you see an open field on your left; our encampment is in a cluster of tents on the top of that little hill.
Alternately, you can reach us via a less-trafficked walkway by entering the park just to the left of the main gate, and then taking the first right, as shown in the map below.
The M4 Bus
You can take the Cloisters-bound M4 bus north to its last stop at the entrance to the park. (Accessibility note: unlike the subway, this route does not involve any stairs.)
For those coming from outside the city via Amtrak, NJ Transit, or regional bus, you can transfer to the New York City Subway’s “A” train at Penn Station or the Port Authority bus terminal; from MetroNorth or LIRR take the “S” Shuttle from Grand Central to Times Square to connect to the A train.
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 event organizers discourage driving to the site because traffic and parking will be challenging, but if you’re bringing a significant amount of gear, or if you have limited mobility and can not climb the multiple flights of stairs from the subway station, read on for details about getting to the site by car.
The closest street address to the park entrance is 799 Fort Washington Ave.
The place within the park where we will be set up is just south of the “New Leaf” restaurant at 1 Margaret Corbin Drive.
If you’re traveling to the site by car, you may find police barricades directing traffic away from the site, but you can tell them that you’re a performer working at the festival and they should allow you through.
The map attached below highlights some areas to give you a sense of where we’ll be within the overall site area, and where the parking and transit options are.
Loading And Unloading
If you want to drive into the park to drop off gear, you must arrive before 9:30, as all vehicles must be cleared from the park by 10:00.
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.
Alternately you can stop your car outside the park, unload on the sidewalk and have passengers walk your gear to the site while the driver stays with the car.
If you are delayed in transit, and arrive after 10:00, 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.
Cars will be allowed back on site to load gear once the crowd clears, around 6:30 or 7:00. We must wait for the public to walk out before we start driving in. The festival ends at 6:00. It takes time for 60,000 people to exit the very large park.
For a limited number of participants who contact us in advance, we might be able to arrange a pass for parking near the site. If you’re interested in a parking pass, contact the event steward ASAP: Mathghamhain Ua Ruadháin, at email@example.com or via phone/SMS to 917-502-7795, and provide your full name, a description of your car, and your license plate number.
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 nearby. Folks with parking passes should arrive early to increase your chances of finding parking in this area.
Even with a parking pass, 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 don’t have a parking pass, or if the cordoned-off parking-pass area is full when you arrive, you may need to drive several blocks away to find free street parking, or use a paid parking lot. Street parking nearby fills up quickly, but if you are early you may be able to find something.
Below is a map of nearby parking garages. Garage #3 is not as useful as it appears in this aerial view, because to get into the park from there you need to walk up a very steep hill (almost a cliff); the other two are an easier walk.
If you’re not carrying a lot of gear and you don’t want to deal with this parking hassle, you might want to stop at some distance from the event and look for on-street parking then take a taxi the rest of the way, or find parking near a station of the “A” train and take the subway for a few minutes to reach the site.