It’s not the weirdest thing I’ve done with the accordion…


“You can’t bring your accordion into the museum,” said the security guard at The Cloisters, the museum in way-Upper Manhattan that houses an impressive collection of medieval art.

“I’m not planning on playing it here,” I replied. “I’m catching up with friends later.”

“Well, you still can’t bring it in, and there’s no place to check it in, either.”

I decided to fall back on a line that every person in Florida has mastered, thanks to the number of retirees who live there and use it every day: “I’d like to speak to your manager.”

the cloisters from a distance

That failed. Somehow, sometime in the past, someone brought a musical instrument to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and wreaked so much havoc that it’s actually one of their written policies: no musical instruments.

Anitra was beginning to look concerned that my usually-beneficial affection of carrying the accordion around was going to upend our afternoon plans, and after we’d travelled a long way (in New York terms).

“I’ll take care of it,” I told her.

There’s a tiny alcove near the museum’s front door for group check-ins. It’s out of the line of sight of the main desk, and was unoccupied that afternoon. I could’ve easily slipped the accordion behind that desk and retrieved it later, but I had no idea whether someone would be at that desk later, or if there were any security cameras watching.

I decided to try the next-best option: outside.


There’s an accordion in this picture. See if you can spot it.

The Cloisters is north of 190th Street, and it’s easy to forget in you’re in New York City. It’s surrounded by a large park with many wooded areas. It hadn’t rained or snowed in a couple of days, and there was no rain forecast for that day. I found a spot not too far from the entrance, tucked my accordion behind a tree and buried it with dry leaves. The photo above shows the accordion in its hiding place.

I went back to the museum, did a little twist to assure the guard that I no longer had my musical instrument with me (he replied with a confused nod), and we went on the tour.

A couple of hours later, we went to the spot where I’d hidden the accordion.

“Where’d you put it?” Anitra asked, looking around.

“Over here,” I said, and after a quick search dug it out.

“It’s not the first time I’ve had to stash an accordion in the woods,” I said, and we headed to our next destination.

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