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Old Feb 5, 2010, 5:38 PM   #31
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We are getting way to deep into Churches and the religious front, Just Kidding.

VV

Very nice series on St. Barts.
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Old Feb 7, 2010, 9:04 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shoturtle View Post
We are getting way to deep into Churches and the religious front, Just Kidding.

VV

Very nice series on St. Barts.
Thanks, shoturtle!

Yes, we are getting way too deep into churches . I only meant to take exterior shots initially to show how the once towering steeples of churches of a century or more ago are now overshadowed by the modern high-rise buildings lining the avenues of Manhattan. There must have been a time when climbing up the churches’ steeples let you see as far as the eye can see. But do that today and all you'll see are office workers through the neighboring and much, much taller buildings’ windows. As far as physical height is concerned, the old New York City churches' glory days are gone.

But the experience led me to other things, too. I got to know the different parts of a church -- the nave, the altar, the rose, the narthex which I called "vesibule", etc. Signs of “The sanctuary is open” and “This is God’s house -- All are welcome” draw the faithful and the curious to go past inside those massive double doors.

And, once inside, the churches made me imagine a very different New York. The intricately carved stone and wood furnishings, the smell of wood and incense, and the blaring sound of pipe organ playing music of great joy or sorrow depending on one’s state of mind remind me of a time when things take long, slow turns to build in contrast with the rat race pace that I’ve grown accustomed to. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to throw myself back in time and expect to smell horse dung dropped by horse-drawn carriages once I step back outside, instead of the carbon monoxide fumes emitted by the yellow taxicabs.

Whether or not God sits at the altar, the old churches are manmade and I’m under no delusions to think otherwise. But they do humble and awe those who enter. And if the old sages and mystics are right -- that awe and humility are perhaps requisite first steps towards self enlightenment -- then the old churches of New York are there to provide reprieve, solace, and a place of rest.

Anyway, I’m getting too far deep still . I just wanted to post one last set of pics -- this time of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church two blocks north of St. Thomas Episcopal Church which in turn is two blocks north of St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral. But with the wealth of old churches in Manhattan -- no longer towering but imposing nonetheless -- I can't guarantee that this won't turn into what the late Douglas Adams calls "a trilogy of five parts". Or maybe even more...

C&C welcome. Thank you for looking!

#34. The Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City.


#35. The church is surrounded by tall buildings.


#36. Nave of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church.


#37. Gallery and rose window (at the rear) of The Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church.


#38. Pews.


#39. Altar.


#40. Window glass art.
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Old Feb 10, 2010, 6:13 PM   #33
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Not really meaning to revive an old thread, I would like to make a correction.

In the following photo, I mentioned that viewed from 10th Avenue, the purple building is partially blocking Saint Raphael Church.



Walking around to the front of the church on 41st Street, I noticed that the purple building is actually part of the church.



My apologies for being misleading.

Still, the building's side being unembellished with architectural style -- it's just a flat wall with windows -- I'm guessing the church's builders were anticipating a building will sooner or later rise anyway that will block that side of the church anyway.
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Old Feb 10, 2010, 10:32 PM   #34
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VV,

I actually visit allot of churches and temples when I am traveling, they are alway very interesting to photograph.

I remember walking up St. Paul's in London, and all those stair. But the view from the top was well worth the hundreds of steps. I also climb the cathedral in Koln, the one that became famous with during WWI with the tiger tank in front of it, where the they seriously thought about bombing the church to eliminate the treat. That was on heck of climb also, and rewarded the climb with a great view. In Europe allot of church is still the center point where pedestrian zones are center around, and then still to be one of the highest structures in the towns.

But I agree the churches hay days have past in NYC.
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Old Feb 11, 2010, 9:24 AM   #35
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The low perspectives really show of the grandeur of these beautiful structures. The lighting is very nice as well. What are you setting your WB at...auto, tungsten, or manual?
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Old Feb 12, 2010, 11:17 AM   #36
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Thanks a lot, shoturtle and jelpee.

shoturtle, that's a very interesting comparison regarding how churches in Europe are the center points. I think here in America, shopping malls are like the center points .

Also interesting is the fact that you can climb up the steeples. I never thought of that. (Although might not make much sense in New York because of the obstructed view. You're better off paying admission to go up the Empire State Building or Rockefeller. There used to be WTC -- just thinking about it brings sad memories...)

jelpee, I have not messed around with my A350's white balance so I just checked now. It's on AWB which I'm guessing means "auto-white balance". If you (or anyone) notice my white balance off in some pics, I'd appreciate knowing. I'd like to improve my shots however incrementally small.
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Old Feb 12, 2010, 11:37 AM   #37
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Default Holy Cross Church

The Church -- or I guess churches of Western origin be it Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, or Episcopal -- you may say is under fierce attack nowadays from science and atheism (not always one and the same). True, the early churches committed atrocities and suppressed free thought so I guess science today is simply saying it's payback time. But at some point I think this has got to end.

The day before the winter storm on Wednesday in New York, I discovered another church beside the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 42nd Street where I get off to work everyday. I didn't notice it before because I always faced east when I exited the terminal and never turned my head around to see the church behind me. So on Thursday, the day after the storm (I didn't make it to work during Wednesday's storm), I brought my camera with me and took pictures of the church.

The front doors of the Holy Cross Church, however, were boarded up. Somehow I felt sorry seeing that. I thought it was closed for good and maybe now abandoned as so many old buildings are.

Don't get me wrong. My motives were of a purely photographical nature. I would like all relics preserved so I can take pictures of them.

After taking my pictures and I was about ready to leave, I saw a sign on the right side of the church that said it was open. The church was simply being renovated. I felt a sense of relief. The church wasn't going to be demolished as I feared after all to make way for more skyscrapers.

An arrow pointed to a side door past some construction equipment. Being a particularly cold morning -- temperature was below freezing -- and needing to warm my body up before continuing on my mile-long walk to work, I walked in. I was hoping that the door would lead to the church's interior where I can take pictures of the church's architecture.

But instead I saw a makeshift chapel with a makeshift altar and an aging statue I suppose of the Virgin Mary in one room. There were chairs neatly arranged and seated on some were a few devout in silent prayer. I thought maybe they do this everyday as a ritual before heading off to work.

As one devout rose from his chair and made his way for the door where I stood, I turned sideways so I and my camera won't be facing him. I didn't want to appear intruding. I pretended to read some church leaflets and brochures on the table in front of me.

That's when I remembered some of the people I met while taking pictures of other churches -- the security bag-checker at Saint Patrick's who let me use his table as tripod for a clear shot at the nave, the lady at Saint Bartholomew's who thanked me for asking first before taking pictures, and the secretary (or so she appeared) at Saint Thomas' who very politely told me after taking pictures for about a half hour that she will wait for me to finish before she locked up the front door. Never once did she tell me to hurry up.

And so there I was seeking refuge from the cold outside inside a church. The church, I thought, is perhaps one of the few remaining places peopled by the gentlest of souls in this largely commerce-driven world where anyone who needed help, regardless of background, will not be turned down.

I picked up a cardboard bookmarker with a drawing of Jesus and some promises purportedly made by a St. Margaret Mary. I read the first few lines and thought, yeah, I'll hold on to that. I put it in my bag and continued on my mile-long walk to work.


#1. The Church of the Holy Cross is lined up with high rises on West 42nd Street.


#2. The front doors are boarded up.


#3. A sign says the church is being renovated but remains open.


#4. Makeshift chapel.


C&C welcome. Thank you for looking!
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