Friday, May 16, 2008

More in Manhattan (Day Three Continued)

Did you know that the largest cathedral in the world is in Manhattan? (Although, oddly, it's only the 4th largest church...guess there are some larger churches that aren't cathedrals). The Cathedral of St. john the Divine is located at amsterdam and 110th in Morningside Heights . It's cornerstone was set in 1892 and it's been underconstruction in fits and starts since (except for a 35 year period starting in 1941). Currently a portion of the cathedral is undergoing reconstruction and repair from a fire in 2001 that damaged a portion of the structure.

It is a beautiful church with a primarily Byzantine-Romanesque Style exterior design by Heins and LaFarge. It is monumental in size and proportion. The center dome (which was intended to only be temporary but was completed in 1909) could fit the statue of liberty underneath it!!! The cathedral is almost 2 football fields in length with the longest Gothic nave in the world at 230 feet. The columns that support the roof over the choir and chapels are each 55 feet in height and massive in circumference. There are 7 chapels dedicated to the many different ethnic groups that were pouring into New York in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Towers remain to be finished, in theory the center dome would be replaced with a permanent one, repairs have yet to be completed but as Mayor Ed Koch said in 1979,,Some of the great cathedrals took over 500 years to build. We are only in our first hundred years.

I've been going to Manhattan for over 20 years now and never ventured up to see the Cathedral. It was worth the trip. It's fairly easy to get to by subway...take either the #1 or #9 subway to 110th and Broadway or the A train to the Cathedral stop. BUT don't take the A'll end up at 145th before you know it and will have to take a train back to Cathedral (yes we did that!).

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