Podcasts Religious History

The secrets of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the unfinished beauty of Morningside Heights

PODCAST The history of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and a tour of its unique artistic treasures The Bowery Boys have finally made it to one of the most enigmatic and miraculous houses of worship in America – the Cathedral of St John the Divine. This Episcopal cathedral has a story like no other and… Read More

True Crime

Presenting Mrs. Randolph Fitzhugh, Kaleidoscope woman, society church thief: “I am being hounded to prison by men”

The former St. Bartholomew’s on Madison Avenue and 44th Street, burgled by one Mrs. Randolph Fitzhugh. [LOC]NOTE: I revised this article this afternoon which some additional information just discovered, making this story ever stranger! New information includes Mrs. Fitzhugh’s real name, details about her baby, her length of stay in the Tombs, and information on… Read More

Neighborhoods Podcasts

The many lives of the Limelight, aka the facade formerly known as the Church of the Holy Communion

  Above: The Church of the Holy Communion — and once the quite infamous nightclub Limelight — as the less lauded follow-up, called Avalon.  Within a couple years, the club would be transformed again — into a high-end retail experience.  Below: Michael Alig, one of its more notorious nightly residents. (source)PODCAST If you had told… Read More

Landmarks Podcasts

Notes from the podcast (#134) St. Patrick’s Cathedral

A spectacle from a hundred years ago: St. Patrick’s in 1912, in a gauze of electric lights. The picture below this post illustrates how this particular light performance made the church standout among the as-of-yet mild landscape of Midtown East. Pictures courtesy the Library of Congress We hope you like our new podcast on St.… Read More

Landmarks Podcasts

St. Patrick’s Cathedral: Stately grace in bustling Midtown, thanks to a fiery archbishop and a venerable hairdresser

During its early years, St Patrick’s neighbors were luxurious mansions. Today the surrounding streets house retail and tourist attractions. (Picture courtesy Library of Congress)PODCAST One of America’s most famous churches and a graceful icon upon the landscape of midtown Manhattan, St. Patrick’s Cathedral was also one of New York’s most arduous building projects, taking decades… Read More

Revolutionary History

From prison to post office: The odd fate of a Dutch church

 One need only walk past the old Limelight in the neighborhood of Chelsea to understand the strange flexibility of church architecture. This former Richard Upjohn-designed Episcopal church at West 20th Street and Sixth Avenue was transformed into a rehab center in the 1970s, then a notorious nightclub in the ’80s, then an upscale mall. And… Read More

Stories from Midtown: The journey of an old church, surviving Civil War riots to become a garage

Drive-in salvation: the former All Souls church welcomed automobiles into the fold in 1908. (Courtesy Shorpy) Another story of a long-gone, forgotten building and one that would have celebrated its dedication 150 years ago this week. This time the story has a strangely sacreligious twist! It’s safe to say that most Americans were extremely anxious… Read More

Old Swamp Church and the first U.S. Speaker of the House

Federal Hall, home to the first House of Representatives 1789 [NYPL] This week the United States got a new Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, and its first female ex-Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. This changing of the guard got me to wondering how many politicians representing New York had ever held this powerful job.… Read More

So, do we call it St. Patrick’s Old Basilica now?

New York’s original St. Patrick’s Cathedral located in Little Italy — or NoLIta, if you must– just got a serious upgrade yesterday, when the Pope deemed the old, revered Catholic church an officially sanctioned basilica. A Catholic basilica is a church with ‘certain privileges’, an elite designation where various religious rituals can take place. This… Read More