In keeping with the ecclesiastical bent that I have been on since my visit to The Cloisters back in February, Saturday I decided to photograph two wonderful land mark religious buildings in Manhattan. The first stop was the beautiful and serene St. Bart’s Episcopal Church on Park Avenue and the second was St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Avenue.
My plans that morning were to take photos of St. Patrick’s Cathedral only but on my way from the train station I had to pass St. Bart’s. So, I stopped and took a few wonderful minutes to capture some of the beautiful sculptures that adorn the entrance ways, lintels and windows of this magnificent example of Byzantine architecture. The faces and stone clothing of the sculptures were iced with years of grey city soot, and I noticed a few noses had cracked off from constant exposure to the changing seasons. These did not detract but added to the emotive beauty of the pieces by deepening their textures. I did not photograph the glories inside of St. Bart’s this day, wanting to get to St. Patrick’s as early as possible to beat the hordes of tourists, but will return in the near future.
As I walked up 51st Street I noticed all of the scaffolding surrounding the cathedral which is undergoing extensive renovations. That was not a deterrent. I was still able to get a wonderful shot of the cathedral’s facade and stunning bronze doors. I ran across the street facing the cathedral an aimed my camera above the wooden scaffolding focusing on the intricate spires stretching, like two arms reaching up to touch the sun. The striking neo-Gothic architecture stands out like a jewel in a crown of tall straight and elongated glass skyscrapers.
I was very happy to find out that not only can you take photos of the inside of the cathedral but you can use flash too (the Lady Chapel is the only area you cannot take photos.) Once you enter and your eyes become accustomed to the low light and bright votive candles you are taken aback by the length and the height of this parish church. My eyes immediately were drawn upwards and widened as I beheld the huge columns that seem to sprout a vast spider webbing of graceful curving arches all along the vaulted ceiling. The stained glass windows were magnificent and made by artisans from France, England and the USA.
The many altars that line either side of the cathedral are little oases of peace where people knelt and prayed to “their” saint and lit candles for loved ones. Each rectangular brass votive holder, placed in front of each alter had two tiny brass angels, only four inches high on the upper two corners, that I just fell in love with. Their tiny hands clasped together in prayer and their bare little feet poised daintily on a rock were just adorable.
I hope you enjoyed this little photographic tour through my eyes of these two wonderful houses of worship.
Stay in Focus,