The Cathedral of St. John the Divine could become a landmark under a deal between the church, Community Board 9 and developers of a new 14-story building set to be built alongside the cathedral.
Community Board 9 approved a resolution asking the Landmarks Preservation Commission to landmark the entire cathedral campus with an exception for a 14-story, 428-unit apartment building. Revenue from that project will fund church repairs, upgrades and ongoing operations. The 121-year-old cathedral is in need of millions of dollars in repairs and upgrades.
Previously the church leased land on 110th Street and Morningside Avenue to the developers who built Avalon Morningside Park, a 20-story luxury apartment building, in 2007 that includes 20 percent affordable housing.
The area from the church eastward towards Frederick Douglass Circle is part of what is known as “Gateway To Harlem”, which continues to undergo dramatic change, and into what some are now calling SOHA (South Harlem).
See our previous post See our post previous post on Cathedral of Saint John the Divine
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While The Wall Street Journal recently posted their Walkabout in Harlem with Vibe Magazine Co-CEO Brett Wright and the WSJ’s Lee Hakwins, I want to share how I did my very own Walkabout with family members who were visiting Harlem from out West during Thanksgiving week. My Walkabout in Harlem included four kids, one adult (appearances will be smudged for obvious reasons) and one objective: to show them why I love Harlem and how they’ll end loving Harlem right back.
For clarification, two kids were entirely new to New York City. The other half have visited NYC before, however they never received a thorough Walkabout in Harlem. So what did I show my family in Harlem? Let’s begin.
First stop was Morningside Park. Since I had four kids with me, I wanted them to see the greenery that Harlem has to offer. After we walked through parts of Morningside Park, I challenged the kids to race each other up on one of the section of steep steps. I said, “pretend you are Rocky and race to the top.” And so they did! They reached the top in no time. I mentioned how some of the steep steps are workout areas for locals.
After the park, we walked over to Columbia University. I had to be a good and influential family member who must encourage education into the minds of little ones. I wanted them to see an Ivy League located in West Harlem.
Next on the list was St. John the Divine. The kids could not believe they were seeing something so massive and majestic! I told them when they get older and travel to part of Europe, they will see similar cathedrals.
We then made our way to Frederick Douglass Circle. Some of these kids have teachers as parents so I wanted them to learn a bit about Harlem’s history through sculptures. I also wanted them to ask, who is this sculpture of? It was a perfect segue to explain what they were seeing.
Next stop was the Duke Ellington sculpture. At this stop, I took the opportunity to remind both kids and adult that Harlem is the birthplace of jazz and that Duke Ellington played a major role. My family was impressed with the size and scope of this sculpture. And of course the kids wanted to stand underneath the sculpture. When your little, how can one resist.
The weather was perfect during our Walkabout in Harlem and Harlem Meer was a Fall magnet. My family thought this part of Central Park North was absolutely gorgeous! On that day my relatives wanted to just hang by the pond and watch the geese and ducks swim by!
To end the Walkabout in Harlem, we headed to 125th Street to see Harlem’s famous Apollo Theater and partake in some street vendor shopping. On 125th Street the kids purchased t-shirts that said “Harlem or I love Harlem.” Clearly, my family Walkabout in Harlem was a success. It caught on to youth clothing that will be worn out West. My objective was…mission accomplished!
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The largest gothic cathedral in the United States was a musical haven to rock star Sting and a sea of international musicians last night. Sting, who is performing two sold out shows December 8th and 9th at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, played songs from his latest album called If on a Winter’s Night …, “a seasonal contemplation mixing traditional English songs and carols with his own The Hounds of Winter and Lullaby for an Anxious Child.” Sting performed about 20 beautiful songs along with two encores to-what I am estimating-a few hundred people, who in my view, came from the tri-state area.
And St. John the Divine was the perfect backdrop for Sting and his musicians. The entire Cathedral looked magical. My guess is Sting’s production company was filming the entire concert from start to finish. Make-up on the ladies was perfectly done and all of the men and women were dressed in black tie for the camera that was located stage left and roaming.
What was fascinating about the concert was every musicial instrument imaginable was on the stage and played. Some I recognized and some I did not. The women who played the harp was interesting.
As for the music, it was the antithesis of what I have always known about Sting, which is generally rock music and a devout yogi. Sting was more of an opera star last night than a rock star, which goes to show the range of this artist. The music and the venue tied together perfectly. It made me feel like I was watching a performance for the King of England or an episode of Showtime’s The Tudors. It felt majestic, yet most of the songs performed were calming and appropriate for the holiday season. My favorite songs were Christmas at Sea, Ghost Story, which Sting said was about his father, and Lullaby For An Anxious Child. For the Lullaby song, he brought out the Newark Boys Choir on stage. They did a wonderful job singing with Sting and what a great opportunity for them. Way to go Newark Boys Choir! However, my question for Sting is “why didn’t he use the Harlem Boys Choir to perform with him?” I have no ill will against the Newark Boys Choir, but Sting was technically in Harlem last night. It would have been a nice and a respectful acknowledgment toward the Harlem community. Oh well, maybe next time.
Overall, the show was beautiful and well worth its price. I guess I was one of the few who was able to purchase tickets online in the first nine minutes when they were made available. Apparently, that is how long it took for both shows to sell out.
Photos by Harlemgal. For a complete review on Sting performing at St. John the Divine, click here!
What do Sting and the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine have in common? The answer: December 8th and 9th. That’s when Sting will be in concert at St. John the Divine located in West Harlem. According to Sting’s website, he will be performing two exclusive concerts in West Harlem then in celebration of his new Deutsche Grammophon release, “If On a Winter’s Night…” Very interesting and so cool! Stay tuned for more information!
Click here to read our post on St. John the Divine.
America’s greatest cathedral, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, now stands open for the public to view in it’s full glory. It is located on Amsterdam and 112 th St. right here in Harlem. Since the fire of December 2001 only sections of the Church have been open to the public. Now seven years and $41.5 million dollars later, St. Johns is fully renovated and is truly a magnificent sight to see. Make sure you checkout the adjacent Garden and sculpture.
When visiting a $5.00 to $10.00 donation is recommended but not inforced. There is normally a 5 PM mass held every evening. For additional information go to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine
1047 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10025
#212-316-7490 and #212-316-7540
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