This will be a short 3-part series about this fantastic cathedral. Might not be the grandest (it is the fourth largest Christian church in the world though), might not be the most important, might not be finished (it’s nicknamed St. John the unfinished), but it’s certainly grand, beautiful, interesting, controversial and definitely worth the time to visit.
You can read details and history on Wikipedia so I won’t bore you. But do see my pictures and try to make sense of the symbolistic of the columns outside. And I’d love to hear your interpretation.
Next Friday – Oct. 26th, it will host another Halloween Extravaganza like the one I wrote about in my first post on this blog.
Tickets are available on the Cathedral website.*
*I have absolutely no affiliation with the Cathedral; I just want you to have a bit of (different kind of) fun
5 Pointz in Long Island City, the international graffiti Mecca, is rumored to cease its present state sometime next year. I figured it’s time to upload the few pictures I have about the place, with the promise to myself that I’ll make time to document some more of this fantastic art until its end.
There’s not much to say, it’s fame makes it superfluous. Maybe just a piece of advice: don’t expect to see it all in one day, it’s not doable. But it’s soooo wonderful!
Situated way uptown at Fort Tryon Park, The Cloisters is the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Medieval Art branch and it has on exhibit about 3000 works of Medieval European art dating from the ninth to the sixteenth century. There are priceless tapestries, sculptures, manuscripts, exquisite stained-glass windows and metalwork, housed in a building that was assembled from architectural elements dating from the XII to the XV century. The gardens you’ll find in three of the cloisters have been recreated from information found in manuscripts, documents and herbals.
While the building is not a copy of a specific medieval structure, there’s a definitive flow in the arrangement. Be it inside or outside, you’ll be enthralled by the works of art; every few steps you’ll feel the urge to stop and contemplate. It’s definitely one of the most interesting museums in NYC.
Some of my favorite artifacts: the oldest (and supposedly the first) set of cards, the unicorn tapestries (all 7 of them), St. Michael’s statue, the German busts (they were used to hold the cranium of the deceased person depicted) and the stained glass windows. One of the gardens offers beautiful views of the surrounding area; there’s a cafe where you can have a snack and rest your feet in a, well, monastic atmosphere.
Impossible not to take a lot of pictures – bring an extra memory card.
Located on 9th Ave. between 15th and 16th St., Chelsea Market has been created in a building with a pretty famous history: the former National Biscuit Co. dating since 1890’s, and that operated until half a century ago. It might impress you more to know that this is where the first Oreo was created and manufactured – in addition to Fig Newtons, Saltines, Barnum animal crackers and Vanilla Wafers.
In an area that 15 years ago had almost no commercial appeal, almost no pedestrian traffic, was pretty desolate and left to the Hudson River winds, it was bought and reinvented by a visionary businessman in the 1990’s.
While the upper floors have been rented for company offices, the ground floor has been remodeled in such way that the original character of the building not only has been preserved as much as possible, but also enhanced by showcasing it’s character. The result is a an enchanting space that opened in 1997 as a gathering of specialty stores mostly food related, and although it evolved over the years it hasn’t changed much. The wholesale flower shop left and made way for an Anthropology store, a couple of other stores replaced by the others, some fantastic restaurants opened… all in all, evolving is not a bad thing.
There are bakeries where you’ll find bread or cookies, there’s a wine store, there’s a fish market and an Italian market, and much, much more. Wander around and be enchanted – by either the industrialist art so beautifully blended with the original building, or by the little pleasures you’ll find in any of the stores. There is a Jacques Torres counter, there’s a L’arte del Gelato counter, there are Fat Witch brownies or Eleni’s exquisite cookies.
The pictures were taken quite a while ago, but I hope they still show why I love Chelsea Market.
Just opened on Friday, Sept. 16th, Jane’s Carousel has become one of my favorite spots in the city already. It’s hidden in plain view in Brooklyn Bridge Park in Dumbo and I expect it will draw crowds faster than a carousel ride.
Made by Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1922 and originally installed in a park in Ohio, it’s the long time work of Jane and David Walentas who purchased the carousel at auction in 1984. Jane painstakingly removed 62 years of over-paint jobs to reach the original carvings, design and color palette, made carpentry repairs, repainted, re-leafed, replaced missing jewels, mirrors and whatever bits were lost.
Same went for the carousel’s panels, decorative panels and structural pieces. The mechanical system has been updated with a new motor and gear. The result is vibrant and new as well as is retro and nostalgic.
The carousel is housed in a simple yet stunning glass pavilion designed by Frech architect Jean Nouvel. Note in the pictures the (intentional) distortion of the outside world while inside – it’s like a parallel world or a magic cube. I couldn’t stop taking pictures, and believe me – I wasn’t the only one. It’s enchanting, it’s magical, happy, wondrous. Please do yourself a favor and go visit, I’m sure you’ll love it. Young and old, everybody enjoyed the ride with an almost incredulous face.
Meanwhile, enlarge the slideshow and enjoy.
Every year at the Cathedral St. John the Divine on the UWS, Halloween is celebrated with an hour and a half of entertainment: a silent movie – this year “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”, followed by the Grand Procession of Ghouls. The Cathedral’s Grand Organ provides the live soundtrack for both the movie and the Procession of Ghouls, contributing to the eerie Halloween atmosphere created within the Church.
Entering the Church, the guy in the short movie above is welcoming the visitors. Come an hour or so early and sit as close as possible to the movie screen and preferably take aisle seats.
The Grand Procession of Ghouls is a very impressive parade of characters wearing fantastic costumes, entering through smoke and walking the main aisle while interacting with the visitors. At the end, some mingling makes possible picture taking with your favorite ghoul(s), just don’t expect them to talk: they’re very quiet at all times.
Tickets are available to purchase in advance through the Cathedral’s website.
I hope the pictures show at least a bit of the fun we had.