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Thread: Churches in NYC

  1. #1

    Default Churches in NYC

    Unity Center of Practical Christianity.

    Where the Horses Slept and the Cars Idled

    Published: December 5, 2008

    Grand indeed, the carriage house was built in 1903 by Helen Gould and designed by the architects York & Sawyer early in their career. By the 1920s, they were the pre-eminent bank architects on the East Coast.

    Miss Gould was a daughter of the notorious financier Jay Gould, and the main house was the gloomy brownstone family mansion at the northeast corner of 47th Street and Fifth Avenue. She had inherited it from her father when he died in 1892, leaving an estate of $72 million.


    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

    Full text at

    Last edited by Edward; July 22nd, 2011 at 07:35 PM. Reason: Removed full text

  2. #2


    Thanks for posting the 2 pictures of churches. If move to New York City I will go to the same of kind of that I used go to in Los Angeles,CA.?
    Last edited by NYatKNIGHT; December 8th, 2008 at 02:39 PM. Reason: Deleted quote

  3. #3

  4. #4
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    NYC - Downtown


    And watch out for the phantom twirlie ...

  5. #5


    The phantom

  6. #6
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    CURBED reports that this grand old Catholic Church on West 42nd (between Eighth & Ninth) looks to be in dire straits:

    Times Square Church in Trouble

    The 156-year-old Church of the Holy Cross, on 42nd Street across the street from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, is on a donation drive in a bid to stave of shuttering. A rectory fire and theft at its food pantry "heaped nearly $200,000 in bills on the already financially floundering parish. And even before the fire damage, the church was facing repair bills for its crumbling ceiling and walls," the Post reports. The Times Square mainstay has been working to aid and assist the formerly gritty 'hood for decades. [NYP]


    329 West 42nd Street
    New York, NY 10036

    At the Crossroads of the World ... Since 1852

    History of Holy Cross Church


  7. #7

    Default St. Paul the Apostle

    St. Paul the Apostle

    The church was built by Isaac Hecker, who left his family's prosperous flour and baking business in 1842, converted to Catholicism and, in 1858, established the Paulist Fathers order. Construction began in 1876 but was not completed until 1885.
    Many hands were involved and it is difficult to identify a specific designer, but David J. O'Brien's biography, "Isaac Hecker: An American Catholic" (Paulist Press, 1992; $25), indicates that Hecker sought to model St. Paul's after the 13th-century Cathedral of Santa Croce in Florence.

    St. Paul the Apostle, with its severe, awkwardly rocky exterior (using stone salvaged from the old Croton Aqueduct), opened in January 1885. The New York Tribune wrote that it was the largest church in America after St. Patrick's Cathedral, "vast, plain, fortress-like, almost repelling in the ascetic cast without . . . yet it is the most august, otherworldly interior on the continent."

    A 60-foot wide nave flanked by giant round and octagonal columns of blue limestone, and the richly colored clerestory windows and dark blue ceiling give a sense of Byzantine mystery. Murals and stained glass by John La Farge were soon joined by a sinuous brass altar lantern by Philip Martiny and an astounding high altar of marble, alabaster and onyx by Stanford White.
    Side altars, murals, marble work and other stained glass were designed by Frederick MacMonnies, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Bertram Goodhue and other artists, an exceptionally lavish decorative program, particularly for a Catholic Church. But much of La Farge's mural work has been painted over and other murals and stained glass have radically darkened over time.

    In 1973 the Paulists announced plans to demolish the church, which would have been replaced by a high-rise apartment house with a church in the base, but the plans never went ahead.

    Text from New York Times
    Last edited by brianac; December 14th, 2008 at 11:02 AM.

  8. #8

    Default Calm Within the Storm

    Calm Within the Storm

    On a bustling stretch of West 46th Street near Seventh Avenue, nestled among pubs and ethnic restaurants, sits the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, an Episcopal neo-Gothic structure completed in 1895.
    Photo: Christian Hansen for The New York Times

    Many passers-by and even neighborhood regulars barely notice the place.
    Photo: Christian Hansen for The New York Times

    On a recent afternoon at St. Mary's, a woman prayed quietly in one of the intimate chapels lining the main sanctuary.
    Photo: Christian Hansen for The New York Times

    "It's always been a place for everybody," said George Handy, 90, who has been going to St. Mary's since 1921. "It's my second home."
    Photo: Christian Hansen for The New York Times

    The distinctive scent of incense, produced in 55-gallon garbage cans in the basement, is the source of the church's nickname, Smoky Mary's. Sometimes, so much incense is burned, it's impossible to see the altar through the smoke.
    Photo: Christian Hansen for The New York Times

    "We keep the doors open as much as we can," said the Rev. Jay Smith, who oversees parish life and outreach at St. Mary's. "This is a place of rest and spiritual refreshment. That's why we're here."
    Photo: Christian Hansen for The New York Times

    Once inside, visitors are transfixed by its jewel-box interior, adorned with flickering votives, dramatically lighted statues, gilded paintings set in little niches, and a ceiling painted deep blue with golden stars.
    Photo: Christian Hansen for The New York Times

    Another haven of solitude stands just off Broadway on West 37th Street. The Church of the Holy Innocents is home to a classic Old World Roman Catholic parish. The main altar is graced with a monumental fresco by Constantino Brumidi, celebrated for his paintings in the United States Capitol in Washington.
    Photo: Christian Hansen for The New York Times

    At Holy Cross Catholic Church on West 42nd Street, opposite the Port Authority, the uninviting Romanesque exterior is in stark contrast to the airy sanctuary, with its great open space and a main altar set in a lovely semi dome and illuminated by nine stained-glass panels.
    Photo: Christian Hansen for The New York Times

    St. Luke's Lutheran Church, on West 46th Street near Eighth Avenue, is a Gothic and Art Deco structure with a largely glass facade.
    Photo: Christian Hansen for The New York Times

    On the same street is the Victorian Gothic St. Clement's, an Episcopal church. In addition to serving as a sanctuary, St. Clement's functions as an Off Broadway theater.
    Photo: Christian Hansen for The New York Times

    Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

  9. #9

    Default Churches in NYC

    I will go to a Lutheran Church in NYC. Does anyone know where Lutheran Churches in NYC? And yes I am a Evangical Lutheran from Los Angeles,CA.

  10. #10



    Urban Uplift: Sanctuaries for the Spirit

    Piotr Redlinski for The New York Times
    Abyssinian Baptist in Harlem. More Photos >

    Published: December 24, 2009

    Manhattan is an island of churches. No matter where you are, you’re never far from the sight of one, whether a magisterially carved stone or a basic stucco-and-brick. True, the days are gone when the city’s churches were routinely accessible to street traffic, though most will be open for Christmas services on Friday and into the weekend.

    Skip to next paragraph Multimedia

    Slide Show Churches in New York

    What’s constant is that churches remain a special category of real estate, set-aside zones dedicated to the proposition that all of us, praying types or not, need quiet places to be alone in public, places to think, feel and see things we may not think, feel and see elsewhere.

    I can map much of my history in the city by the churches that figured into it. When I made holiday visits to New York as a kid in the late 1950s, Midtown Fifth Avenue was the big draw: F. A. O. Schwarz, the old Scribner’s, Rockefeller Center, Saks with its windows, and, in the middle of everything, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where you could sit for as long as you wanted.

    Was the cathedral as mobbed then as it is now with herds of tourists pushing in and out? Memory says no; art says yes. I tend to remember the scene as it looks in the more sedate pictures from Donald Blumberg’s 1965 photographic series “In Front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral,” with men and women in skinny striped ties and pillbox hats lingering on the steps before heading off to Bonwit’s and brunch.

    But other pictures from the series, which is on view through Feb. 20 at Keith de Lellis Gallery on the Upper East Side, are probably more like it: blurry, out-of-focus images — as if someone kept bumping Mr. Blumberg’s elbow as he shot — of crowds in shirtsleeves and shorts emerging from the cathedral, the fanny-packers and cellphone wielders of yesterday.

    When I moved to New York in the early ’70s, I lived briefly on East 76th Street near Third Avenue. It wasn’t a neighborhood of architectural distinction, but it yielded at least one impressive sight: St. Jean Baptiste Catholic Church on 76th and Lexington Avenue, a neo-Baroque block of gray stone. Looming like a cliff face over the street, it looked like solid mass with no interior, so I never went in.

    I had no idea that it started as a parish church for 19th-century French-Canadian immigrants, or that its congregation had first worshiped in a Yorkville stable loft, or that the church housed a much-revered relic believed to bestow miraculous cures. To me it was just a big, strange fixture I passed to get to the subway. Now, in that funny way memory works, it’s become a landmark of a phase of my life. I finally dropped in a few days ago, by the way. It’s lovely and warm inside.

    Lower Manhattan

    In 1974 a church was my introduction to Lower Manhattan, where I lived for several years. On my first trip to Wall Street I came out of the subway near the New York Stock Exchange and looked up to see Trinity Church, like some vision from an earlier age, at the top of the street. The image of Trinity’s oldness surrounded by so much newness, of spiritual power surrounded by material power, instantly shaped my view of that neighborhood and still does, though there have been many changes there since.

    One of those changes was the loss of a church, a different one. St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, distinctly unmonumental at four stories tall, stood a few blocks from where I lived just south of the World Trade Center. I loved the church’s Old World savor, with its gilded icons and candelabra. I loved that its long-dispersed congregation returned, a devout little band, every Easter. I loved the sight of its silhouette, tiny, against the steel mass of the south tower. When that tower fell on 9/11, St. Nicholas was ground to dust.

    The Village

    Many of the oldest churches in New York have followed the growth of the city, starting downtown and in slow stages relocating uptown, which is more or less the route I’ve taken.

    In the early ’80s I went from Wall Street to Chinatown, where I lived in a sublet over a Buddhist temple, then on to the East Village, which by the mid-’80s was a hot spot for new art.

    To me it always had been. And much of that art was associated with churches. Judson Memorial Church, on Washington Square South, dated from the late 19th century and was progressive from the start, delivering food and medicine to immigrants along with the Gospel. And its wealthy benefactors made sure the church looked good, with windows by John La Farge and sculptures by Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

    When funds later dropped off, Judson’s art became more radical. In the ’60s the church was a center for political activism and experimental performance-based work. It hosted the early Happenings and, under the name of the Judson Dance Theater, helped invent postmodern dance with the work of Yvonne Rainer, Lucinda Childs and Simone Forti.

    “The two great doctrines of Christianity are salvation and creation. There has been much concern about the first. Judson wants to do more about the second.” So said Al Carmines, the minister and composer who led the Judson arts programs. He was talking about art as a spiritual experience.

    In the early 1980s Bread and Puppet Theater presented its “Washerwoman Nativity” in the church in the weeks before Christmas. And when, with a tinkling of chimes, the figure of a tall angel suddenly rose in the darkened sanctuary, the effect was breathtaking and heartbreaking.

    During the same period, St. Mark’s Church, on Second Avenue in the East Village, was the church of choice for poetry. The church itself is venerable. Completed in 1799 and the second oldest in Manhattan, it is on the site of Peter Stuyvesant’s family chapel. By contrast, the surrounding neighborhood was a seedbed for the cultural underground and a natural setting for the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church, which promoted new work in new styles, transformed the solitary poet into a congregation of poets, and continues its work today as an organization run by poets for poets.

    If the Poetry Project’s readings get raucous, as they sometimes do, the East Village offers yet another church alternative, the Fifteenth Street Meeting House at Rutherford Place, a Quaker place of worship and the soul of quietude. Its interior is as plain as a Donald Judd wood box: clean lines, dove-gray walls, no altar, seats on four sides. It looks like a Minimalist conversation pit, which in a sense it is. Worshipers gather; speak when they are moved to. Often their words are poetry that doesn’t use the name.


    If you thrive on a different spiritual aesthetic — elaborate liturgy, rich music, sumptuous visuals — head to St. Thomas Church, the Episcopal showplace on Fifth Avenue at 53rd Street, which delivers all of this.
    The architecture, by Ralph Adams Cram and Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, is flamboyantly Gothic; the stained glass, now under conservation, superb.

    The church’s great altar screen, 80 feet tall and filigreed with figures, is Zeffirellian in size and impact, complementing the forceful singing of the St. Thomas Choir. Most convenient, the church stages its version of total music-theater on Sundays, the day the Metropolitan Opera is dark.

    Like the Met, St. Thomas is a place you go for an event, not to hang out.

    I prefer the less demanding atmosphere of another Midtown church, St. Paul the Apostle, on Columbus Avenue at 60th Street. St. Paul’s interior is just as massive as St. Thomas’s, but less fastidiously groomed. It feels worn smooth, like much-handled wood, as befits a church that was built to see hard use as a spiritual center for Hell’s Kitchen.

    The order of Roman Catholic priests that established the church, the Paulists, was founded by Isaac Thomas Hecker, a 19th-century New Yorker with a highly developed social consciousness and a utopian streak.

    He spent time in a New England transcendentalist community before becoming a priest, and created his religious order specifically to serve the poor.

    St. Paul’s, like St. Thomas’s, has lots of art, but the mix is eclectic and funky. Stanford White’s graceful altar baldachin clashes with a chunky white marble angel by Lumen Martin Winter. And nothing quite goes with a mural by Augustus Vincent Tack, best known for his semi-abstract skyscapes but here represented by a painting of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

    So, a jumble, but very American, very New York.

    Walking from one chapel to the next is like TV channel-surfing: there’s something totally different with each click, but everything feels of a piece, part of the same messy, fervid popular culture. I used to visit St. Paul’s to read and think when I worked in the area years ago. It had good vibes and good ghosts. In the ’80s, when AIDS was hammering the city, the Paulists were on the case, giving help.

    At some point I learned that Billie Holiday’s funeral had taken place here, with Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Teddy Wilson and Mary Lou Williams in attendance. Even the St. Thomas Choir couldn’t match that lineup.

    Morningside Heights

    Among churches supporting progressive causes, few can match the track record of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine at Amsterdam Avenue and 112th Street. And few can match its immense size, or the elasticity of its construction schedule. Building started in 1892 and is still very much under way.

    And for fans of eclectic art, a visit to St. John’s is like going to heaven. You find stained-glass windows dedicated to both saints and baseball players, carved statues of the Virgin Mary and Betsy Ross, Byzantine icons and patchwork quilts, a painting attributed to Simone Martini and a Keith Haring altarpiece.

    The richness of the aesthetic stew is somewhat reduced at present. A recent interior renovation required the removal of many pieces of art, new and old, from chapels and bays, and it seems that the works are either returning very slowly or not coming back at all. The place is looking ultraspare, even with presence of an origami Christmas tree.

    During a teaching stint I brought a class here. Ostensibly we were considering differences between Christian and Hindu religious architecture. But the discussion soon swung around to the question of mixing traditional religion with New Age-Pop, as St. John’s does, and was that a problem.

    After much looking and talking, a consensus was reached: not a problem. And as to the cathedral’s state of perpetual incompletion, that’s life.

    Completion was not an issue for Riverside Church, another stupendous religious structure near Columbia University, thanks to infusions of Rockefeller cash. The result is a picture-perfect neo-Gothic interior with a festive, even Christmasy look year round, a stage for pageantry that is itself a tightly executed visual pageant.

    Where this church has remained open ended is in its interdenominational and interracial thinking, which has produced a diverse membership with a strong African-American component. In 1997, when the black church historian James Melvin Washington died of a stroke at 49, his memorial was at Riverside. My partner, Joe Rosch, had been studying with Washington at Union Theological Seminary, and we attended the service.

    Large as it is, the place was packed, and among the guests of honor were dozens of high-ranking figures in the African-American clergy. Watching them file down the center aisle, I understood as never before not only the institutional power of the black church, but also the ability of architecture to amplify that power.

    Upper Manhattan

    Such amplification is taking place on Christmas in major churches all over Manhattan: from Trinity Church, to St. Patrick’s, to Riverside, to the spectacular houses of worship in Harlem, like the Abyssinian Baptist Church, with its amphitheater sanctuary and standing-room-only crowds, on West 138th Street (now called Odell M. Clark Place).

    But by the late ’80s I had moved even farther uptown, to the northern tip of the island in Inwood, where the churches tend to be smaller, poorer and on uncertain demographic footing. One, Good Shepherd, on Broadway at Isham Street, was originally a Paulist outpost. A Celtic cross prominent on this Romanesque-style church’s exterior attested to a ministry directed at Irish immigrants, though by the ’80s the Irish had given way to arrivals from the Dominican Republic.

    Another neighborhood landmark, the tiny Holy Trinity Church at Cumming Street and Seaman Avenue, once existed in Harlem until a wave of white flight in the 1920s carried it to still-rural Inwood. Its Episcopal parishioners commissioned a rather grand building. But construction stopped abruptly with the stock market crash in 1929, and the sanctuary ended up being an ungrand, no-frills affair. Over the decades the congregation shrank.

    When I moved in across the street, the church had just eight members, and the buildings were in disrepair.

    Farther north still, St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church is physically off the island of Manhattan and in the Bronx at West 228th Street, though its exact neighborhood, Marble Hill, is under Manhattan jurisdiction. Dating from 1897, the church has the delightful shingle-style look of a country chapel, but has clearly seen rough urban times.

    But life in these three churches goes on. When 9/11 struck, Irish-Americans who had moved away from Inwood flooded back to Good Shepherd, where numerous funerals for firefighters and police officers were held. That renewal of primal ties was wrenching to see.

    Today masses are in Spanish and English, and the Paulists have been replaced by community-friendly Franciscans. Last week the sanctuary was still somber for Advent, but a crèche outside looked pretty, and the church doors were open all day.

    At Holy Trinity, where fragile 1927 architectural renderings of the never-built church hang in a vestibule, a leaky roof has at last been replaced, with interior renovation, including repairing water damage, to come next. The present vicar, the Rev. Johanna-Karen Johannson, has attracted a congregation of 50 members.

    At St. Stephen’s, where the sanctuary is a mini-version of the Abyssinian Baptist amphitheater, the pastor, the Rev. Nathaniel Dixon, is also a jazz saxophonist who holds concerts in the church every week. There was lots of music in progress when I dropped by on a recent evening: a drumming class upstairs, a hymn singalong with guitar in a first-floor room, along with a small meeting of parishioners making Christmas plans.

    One of them, Veronica, greeted me and asked if I had any questions. I did, and I asked them, then told her I’d been looking at churches all over Manhattan, and had come to this one because I lived nearby. “You have a place of worship?” she asked. I said no. “Why don’t you try this one?” she asked. I said I wasn’t really the churchgoing kind.

    She looked at me a long minute. “But here you are.”

    Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

  11. #11
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    Really amazing design. As one commenter said, it looks brand new, not from 1968.

    The Spaceship Church In Queens

    Seeing the blue onion dome from a distance, you’d probably assume St. Nicholas to be your typical Russian church.

    But take a drive down Clintoneville Ave, [Whitestone] and you’ll realize the truth…

    Someone has landed a spaceship in Queens and disguised it as a Russian Orthodox church.

    full article and more pics at ScoutingNY

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