Featured Editorial

Knightwatch Medieval is a Night Like None Other

Do you know the movie "Night at the Museum?", one of the first eager guests to arrive for Knightwatch Medieval asked my oldest son as they exchanged friendly introductions. The excitement and enthusiasm of the increasing group of tweens packed up with gear for the evening's overnight stay at one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in the world. How many families can make the claim as having slept overnight in such a holy, historic New York City landmark as The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine? Count our tween and toddler to be among the privileged few. Oh, holy night!

Thank you to The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine and Knightwatch Medieval for inviting our family to attend the event as media on the behalf of The Mommy Factor and Creative Learning Center Studios. 

Knightwatch Medieval is a Night Like None Other


Having previously studied Medieval times in school and enjoyed many a jousts and finger licking good meals at Medieval Times arenas from New Jersey to Florida, my tween was through the roof excited to arrive at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. The massive church came majestically into view as we ascended over 130 stairs from Morningside Park to the street level. We took a moment to (breathe) truly appreciate the amazing architecture that my son and I have both studied in text books yet never imagined to partake on the busy streets of New York City. The Cathedral was truly a marvel to behold and yet so many hurried New Yorkers pass this beautiful historic edifice often with only a passing curiosity. 

We arrived early and were ready to be entertained and enlightened by all things Medieval. The medieval-themed festivities of Knightwatch Medieval begin immediately upon arrival with a meet and greet with the warm and friendly hosts of Strathclyde. We were welcomed into our respective Houses and promptly assigned with the task of designing our personal coat of arms. Our family was inducted into the House of Falconworth yet we made many friends during our stay from the Houses of Gunnymeade and Cragsmoore. Following our most necessary lesson from Sir Terrence the Tall as to the proper way to bow before the queen, we were trotting along with the Friendly Friar Frederick to receive a tour of the most impressively ornate Cathedral narthex, nave, and more.  

There was an eve schedule complete with period dancing including the traditional pavane, medieval music appreciation, defensive foam swordplay instruction, clay gargoyle creations, crayon rubbings, paper stained glass window replicas, sample stone carvings and a suspenseful, interactive play and scavenger hunt around the cathedral led by none other than the palace's royal lovelorn court jester. Our Knightwatch Medieval was inclusive of so much more art, history and culture than we could have possibly imagined. The information presented was useful as an introduction, supplement or review of the Medieval time period. The suggested age group for Knightwatch Medieval would be for 6 - 12 year old lords and ladies.

It is always bittersweet, yet all good things must come to an end, as the medieval magic came to it's conclusion, there was more festive music and dancing galore to bring our celebration to a more modern time where we were all smiles for treasured photo opportunities with the royals and their entourage. 

As the lighting dimmed, parents and children prepared to retire for the night. Gathered for a round robin of storytelling by flashlight, tall tales entertained one and all beneath the cavernous cathedral dome. Sleep did not come quickly as the giddy and gigglesome group did not settle down until minutes til midnight. We had the added effect of sleeping beneath the soft glowing lights of  "Phoenix" by Chinese artist, Xu Bing. "Phoenix" is one of the biggest sculptures ever displayed in the United States. Having kept both our tween and our toddler thoroughly enthralled with the ambiance of the 14th century, Knightwatch Medieval is definitely on tough act to follow! 

There's still time for you to reserve your family or group's experience for the Knightwatch Medieval program. For more information email nightwatch@stjohndivine.org or call (212) 316-7518 for details.

Here is a photo gallery of our Knightwatch Medieval experience October 10-11, 2014

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