Monday, August 17, 2015

Grace church, Broadway and East 10

This summer is hot!   Two weeks ago, walking along the sunny streets of Manhattan I was dreaming about the cold place where I can spent just fifteen minutes. I passed by the beautiful church  at the corner of East 10th Street  and Broadway. I entered it... I was  greeted with a breath of fresh air  and the light from the stained glass.  There was nobody inside. The church was beautiful! I made some pictures, and later, returning home, read about the church.

The cornerstone for the Grace church was laid in 1843, and it was consecrated on March 7, 1846. The church architect   James Renwick, Jr  designed  it  in the French Gothic Revival style, that  had its roots in the French medieval Gothic architecture,   created in the 12th century. The church was built of  a marble,   quarried at the Sing Sing- Ossining Prison in Ossining, NY by its inmates.


At that time   James Renwick  was 24 years old. It  was  the first church that  he  built.   After designing Grace Church he went onto to do St. Patrick's Cathedral. 

When the church was built, it was a much plainer structure than it is now. The resources of the church were sufficiently strained so that the church steeple had to be built of wood instead of marble. 


The east window over the high altar was created by the English stained glass manufacturer Clayton and Bell in 1878. In 1863 John Richard Clayton experimented   with the manufacture of so-called pot metal or colored glass produced by simple  manufacturing techniques which brought about great variability in the texture and color of glass which is characteristic of ancient windows. In the late 1860s and 1870s the firm was at its busiest, and employees worked night shifts in order to fulfill commissions.


In the book "Sunshine and shadow in New York"  published in 1869, Matthew Hale Smith, Unitarian minister, journalist, and author wrote:
"For many years, Grace has been the centre of fashionable  New York. To be married or buried within its walls has been ever considered the height of felicity. Grace Church was the fashionable altar at which high New York exchanged its vows. It has  always been crowded with the intelligence, wealth, and  fashion of New York. Its singing has always been one of its great features, and has never been surpassed. To be married in Grace Church has been regarded as the height of earthly felicity."



In 2008, Grace Church signed a contract for a new organ to be built by Taylor & Boody of Staunton, Virginia. The winding of the organ is nineteenth century in style with large wooden wind canals and parallel-rise multiple fold reservoirs of large capacity. The organ was inaugurated on Friday evening, 26 April 2013 in a concert by the combined choirs of Grace Church.
 Based on the French tradition of “L’Auditions” still practiced in the great churches of Paris, the organ  sing for half an hour in the middle of the day. 


The repertoire for the meditations is drawn from across the diverse repertoire of the pipe organ.
Till September 9, 2015  there is a free 40 minutes of Bach every Wednesday, 12-20 - 12-50. Staring from September 9 till May 2015 every Tuesday, Thursday, Wednesday and Friday you can have 40 minutes of organ music for free  at the same time, 12-20  - 12-50.  And on weekends, starting from September through May  there are 45-minuts  free informal meditation sessions.