A Saturday pilgrimage


It’s almost four on a warm-bordering-on-hot Saturday afternoon, and here I sit on the steps of the St. John Divine cathedral.  Well, actually it is definitely hot, but my climb to the top of the cathedral via one narrow, winding vertical staircase–a sticky and vertigo-infused endeavor–makes the open air feel cool in comparison.

My day is well from over, but here I shall take a moments Twat, and gather my thoughts while I restore my energy level.

My slight infatuation with religious architecture has gone full-blown, and a simple plan to develop a tour of a hand-picked selection of New York’s gothic-style churches has taken on a massive, engrossing life of its own. I know now that this project will not end with my class’s Monday deadline; rather it will stretch out through the years and lead me to explore many holy structures, and learn everything there is to know about pipe organs, altars, spires and stained glass windows in the process.

Yesterday I went to the most well-known of NYC’s Cathedrals, St. Patrick’s. Then I migrated south to get acquainted with Grace Church. Today I learned the subtle, yet explicit difference between the two–cathedrals Nd churches that is. Unfortunately, this differentiation compromises my current work-in-progress, what with the incontinuity of my selection. I initially chose 5, but you really only need visit two before you realize you have to see them all. In total, there are 18 Cathedrals in this city. The volunteer tour guide who led my ascension at St. John’s claims her own parish cathedral, St. Bartholmew’s, on 51st and Park as her personal favorite. A woman who came into providing tours by way her background in art history, Ms. Rebecca Earley also conducts tours there as well.

Well, it’s ten after four, and I have another stop to make in the name of obsessive over-research (only slightly) in Gramercy Park at another church or cathedral–I’m not sure which it is–where an exhibit on gothic revival architecture has opened to the public today. Oh dear, it closes in 50 minutes…maybe I will put it off until tomorrow…only since the overwhelming inflow of new knowledge about architectural symbolism and terminology is now coupled with a lack of sleep and nourishment. Four hours sleep plus one carnation breakfast drink laced with instant coffee plus one 3-mile excursion first south to st. Paul’s and trinity in downtown, followed by one non-stop 8-mile hustle uptown to 112th street, where I am now, topped with almost three hours of two consecutive guided tours and my fantastic climb equal a fair bit of elated exhaustion and a curiosity about why I did not pack a snack. Well, OK, I am going to try to make it to Gramercy now anyway. If I am still standing now, then a few more miles couldn’t be impossible.


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