Friday, April 18, 2014

Sting, Duke Ellington, Dr. Martin Luther King, and the Dalai Lama: Linked by St. John the Divine in Manhattan

As it is Good Friday, one of New York City's must-see venues is Saint John the Divine Cathedral in Manhattan's Morningside Heights.  The red buses that drive most tourists past it simply just don't do it justice.

The cathedral vies with Liverpool Cathedral or the title of the largest Anglican cathedral and church, and it is the fourth largest Christian church in the world.  With an interior covering 121,000 square feet, the cathedral is renowned for the two architectural gems:

1. The Great West Doors. Located on Amsterdam Avenue and designed by 1920s by Henry Wilson, the sequence of 48 relief panels presents scenes from the Old and New Testaments and the Apocalypse.

2. The Great Organ.  With fifty inches of wind pressure, it is one of the most powerful organ stops in the world.  While The Great Organ is currently valued at over eight million U.S. dollars, it is considered to be priceless in both the worlds of both and Christianity.  Considered the single most important American Classic organ, this instrument speaks into an amazint eight-plus-second acoustic.

Some of the biggest names in the world have appeared at Saint John the Divine.  The list includes Duke Ellington, Dr. Martin Luther King, Bishop Desmond Tutu and the on several occasions, the Dalai Lama.  In 2009, Sting performed at the Cathedral for the launch of his album, “If on a Winter's Night.”

Saint John the Divine is also located in a fast-growing neighborhood that is seeing multiple new dining venues open.  Many of them feature significant outdoor seating space than those below 96th Street.  It's a great after-hours, free-time option if you want inspiration, overwhelming architectural brilliance, and a taste of one of New York City's hottest neighborhoods.

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