12 October 2016

Happy Anniversary, St. Paul's NYC!

#Newyorkcity
"The Little Church That Stood"
250 Years
of
209 Broadway, NYC

30 October 2016 marks the 250th anniversary of a little (by NYC standards) church on Broadway, the last remaining colonial religious structure in the city. Constructed in 1766 as a convenience for "uptown" parishioners, it survived  fires that burned the neighborhood in the late 18th century and the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers across the street in 2001. President George Washington worshiped there often, no doubt when it was owned by the Church of England, as the "Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America" was not incorporated in New York State until 1821.

The Chapel has been renovated more than once, the most recent before the current renovation was completed in the 1960s. The interior shots featured below reflect the 60s renovation's color choices of blue ceilings and pink walls. They will be replaced with white dove and natural cream, colors used in the mid-nineteenth century, which were the earliest colors the color conservationist could find for the interior before the anniversary date.

Now dwarfed by surrounding skyscrapers, this is how the Chapel looked for decades after its construction, when its spire was taller than many surrounding structures:

(print modified from original found on Wikimedia Commons)

The picture below shows the sanctuary of the Chapel as it was decorated after a 1960's renovation and a post-911 cleanup. The large windows on the right overlook Broadway.

Original photo by Jean-Christophe BENOIST, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons
Over several years, Google Street View (GSV) shows the Chapel exterior and grounds from many angles.

Broadway entrance, July 2015  [GSV]
(color variations emphasized in Picasa processing)
Another view of the Broadway facade in July 2015 [GSV]
In October, 2014 [GSV] the sun is at just the right angle to show off details of the Broadway facade's colonnade.
Google captures the softly lit Church St. entrance to the Chapel in August 2013 [GSV]
In Apr 2009  [GSV] Google cameras passed by the side of the Chapel that faced the World Trade Center. The 911 attack filled the entire area with dust and debris. As indicated by the slight focal distortion at the top of the steeple, Google lenses were not as good in 2009 as they are now.
2009 was a good year for the Chapel. After 8 years of silence, and just one month after Google cameras passed by, the last of the toxic 911 dust was vacuumed from its pipes and the Chapel organ sounded again [YouTube ~2 min. 30 secs.]:



One of the best photo spreads outside of the views available on Street View is "Saint Paul's Churchyard," which was assembled on Flickr by jhouston1956.

If you have the time, here are 2 YouTube tours of the Chapel which I found of interest:

The first gives you the sounds of New York and a glimpse of the significance of the site to the events of 911:
YouTube ~ 3 min. (some narration)

The second, without narration, also gives you the ambience of the setting:

YouTube ~ 2 min.

There are other YouTube videos available which you may wish to sample for yourself. After 30 October, there may be some showing the refurbished interior and 911 memorial. Meanwhile, the New York Architecture site is among several that can be found with a Google search that have excellent snapshots of the Chapel.