Not sure how my mom is going to feel about this, but my favorite place in New York City is a church. You see, I was raised to be very Jewish, so the idea of loving a church is a little bit radical. One time, I asked my mom if I could get one of those cool cross necklaces like Buffy wore and it was as if I had asked to eat pot wrapped in bacon with an absinthe reduction.
But, religion aside, tell me this isn’t beautiful… If you venture up to 112th and Amsterdam, you’ll see the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. It’s kind of hard to miss as it’s freaking huge. St. James holds regular masses, which I’m obvi less interested in, but the great part is it’s open to the public if you’re ever in the mood to roam around.
The architecture is straight out of an art history book, and the main sanctuary is surrounded by hidden chapels that line the building’s perimeter. Each chapel has its own unique design aesthetic and they house a regular rotation of art and exhibits, so you’re never going to see the same thing.
The coolest one I ever saw was based on a man who traveled the world and filmed eight family dinners from a fixed aerial point of view. He took great care to make sure the positioning of each dinner guest was consistent, but otherwise let things run their natural course. At the exhibit, they shrouded one of the chapels in black cloth with a dining room table and chairs set in the middle. On a constant loop is the sound and footage of the dinners projected onto the table from above. As a spectator, you’re supposed to sit in one of the seats to be one of the guests at the meal. Every five minutes took me from Asia, to America, to the Middle East, and more. Had a gaggle of European tourists not come in, I would have sat there forever taking in the different foods, languages, table settings, and utensils (or lack there of).
If you can believe it, the cathedral is only half of the experience. I always look forward to venturing outside and walking through all of the different gardens. They’re meticulously maintained and house many sculptures and even three peacocks. Have you ever seen a white peacock? Cause I’m about to show you one.
This guy wanders freely and was very eager to show off. Like most Jews on Easter, I took my friend Lindsay to St. James yesterday, and perhaps you’ll fall in as much love with the place as I am based on the pics below. Can you believe this exists in NYC?
Lindsay in one of the gardens…
This is where you sit if you misbehave… My offense was having too much fun.
This sculpture reminded me of Pratt in Brooklyn where I went to school…