Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola (New York City, U.S.A.)

The very first mass we attended in the US, on the eve of the Feast of St. John the Baptist, was held at the beautiful Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola, located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It was officiated by the very friendly and welcoming Fr. Dennis J. Yesalonia, S.J.

Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola

This Roman Catholic parish church, under the authority of the Archdiocese of New York, is administered by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). The church is part of a Jesuit complex on the block that includes Wallace Hall, the parish hall (beneath the church), the rectory (at the midblock location on Park Ave.), the grade school of St. Ignatius’s School (on the north midblock location of 84th St., behind the church) and the high school of Loyola School (also 980 Park Ave.) at the northwest corner of Park Ave. and 83rd St. The Regis High School (55 East 84th St.), another Jesuit high school, occupies the midblock location on the north side of 84th St..

Established in 1851 as St. Lawrence O’Toole‘s (a twelfth-century bishop of Dublin) Church, a wooden church was erected in 1852 but was replaced, in 1853, by a modest brick structure. In 1886, it was entrusted to the care of the Society of Jesus  the Jesuits’ first major apostolate in the Yorkville area of New York.  In 1898, it was granted permission by Rome to change the patron saint of the parish to St. Ignatius of Loyola.

The church’s foundation was built from 1884 to 1886 and the present German Baroque-style church, designed by Arch. J. William Schickel of Schickel & Ditmars, was built from 1895 to 1900. On December 11, 1898, it was dedicated by the Most Reverend Michael Corrigan, third Archbishop of New York. On March 4, 1969, the church was declared as a New York City Landmark and, on July 24, 1980, the church was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The beautiful church interior

Notable people whose funerals were held here include:

This 90 ft. high and 87 ft. wide architectural gem has a Classical Park Avenue exterior that is not static, with the central division raised in slight relief beyond the side divisions.  Its façade has 2 unbroken vertical orders, a Palladian arched window and a tri-part horizontal division which suggest the central nave and side aisles beyond. Directly beneath the pediment are inscribed the words “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam” (“To the Greater Glory of God”, the motto of the Society of Jesus,  and the Great Seal of the Society (composed of a cross, three nails, and the letters I H S, the first three letters of Jesus’ name in Greek which later became a Latin acronym denoting Jesus the Savior of Humankind).

The altar

The varying intervals between the symmetrically positioned pilasters create a subtly undulating dynamism that introduces a note of syncopated rhythm reminiscent of the exterior of Il Gesù, the Jesuits’ mother church in Rome. Two copper-capped tower bases, on either side of the central pediment, are hints of the abandoned grander scheme of a pair of towers designed to reach 210 ft. above the ground. The church’s intricate marble work, executed by the firm of James G. Batterson, Jr., and John Eisele of New York, includes American (pink Tennessee), European (yellow Siena, veined Pavonazzo and white Carrara) and African (red-veined Numidian and pink Algerian) marble. The soaring ceiling was beautifully crafted and the intricate stained glass windows tells the story of Jesus life, death and resurrection.

The high ceiling

The marble mosaic Stations of the Cross panels were designed by Professor Paoletti for Salviati & Company of Venice.  The great 12-panel bronze doors, located at the sanctuary end of the side aisles, were designed by the Rev. Patrick O’Gorman, S.J. (pastor from 1924 to 1929) and were crafted by the Long Island Bronze Company. The Carrara marble Jesuit statues (including St. Francis Xavier and St. John Francis Regis) were carved by the Joseph Sibbel Studio of New York.  The church organ, built by N.P. Mander of London, was dedicated in 1993 and is New York City’s largest mechanical action (tracker) pipe organ.

The semicircular wrought-iron baptistery screen of gilt flaming swords, in the Chapel of John the Baptist, was wrought by Mr. John Williams to the designs of William Schickel. The Carrara marble baptistery font, set above the marble pavement, was designed “by Heaton, Butler & Bayne of London, with slight modifications made by Mr. John Buck of the Ecclesiastical Department of the Gorham Company of New York (also responsible for the cutting and installing the mosaic’s tesserae – the pieces comprising the mosaic).

The baptistery’s altar and the surrounding curved walls, designed and executed under the direction of Mr. Caryl Coleman of the Ecclesiastical Department of the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company (who also executed the baptistery’s semi-dome), were made with Pavonazzo marble inlaid with mosaics (composed of that company’s justly famous opalescent Favrile glass, as delicate as the Venetian glass mosaics above are bold).

Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola: 980 Park Ave. cor. East 84th St., New York City, New York 10028.  Tel: +212-288-3588. Website: www.stignatiusloyola.org. Mass Schedule: Mondays-Fridays, 8:30 AM, 12:10 PM and 5:30 PM; Saturdays, 8:30 AM an 5:30 PM; Sundays, 8 AM, 9:30 AM, 11 AM (Solemn Mass) and 7:30 PM.

National September 11 Memorial & Museum (New York City, U.S.A.)

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum (also known as the 9/11 Memorial and 9/11 Memorial Museum), located at the former location of the Twin Towers (destroyed during the September 11 attacks) at the World Trade Center site, are the principal memorial and museum, respectively, that commemorate the September 11, 2001 attacks, which killed 2,977 victims, and the World Trade Center bombing of 1993, which killed six.

September 11 Memorial Plaza

The memorial was designed by Israeli architect Michael Arad (whose Reflecting Absence, on January 2004,was selected as the winner, from among 5,201 entries from 63 countries, of the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition) of Handel Architects, a New York- and San Francisco-based firm, who worked with landscape-architecture firm Peter Walker and Partners on the design.

Layout of Memorial Plaza

Featuring a forest of trees with two square pools in the center where the Twin Towers stood, its design was consistent with the original Daniel Libeskind master plan which called for the memorial to be 9.1 m (30 ft.) below street level (originally 21 m./70 ft.) in a plaza. Started on August 2006, the memorial was dedicated on September 11, 2011, the tenth anniversary of the attacks, an was opened to the public the following day. The museum was dedicated on May 15, 2014 and opened on May 21.

South Pool

Two 4,000 m2 (1 acre) pools, with the largest man-made waterfalls (intended to mute the sounds of the city, making the site a contemplative sanctuary) in the United States, comprise the footprints of the Twin Towers, symbolizing the loss of life and the physical void left by the attacks. Delta Fountains engineered the fountain. Many parts of the memorial were planted by Walker with white oaks while almost 400 sweet gum and swamp white oak trees fill the remaining 24,000 m2 (6 acres) of the Memorial Plaza, enhancing the site’s reflective nature.

Parapet on wall with bronze plates inscribed with victims’ names

The parapets of the walls of the memorial pools are attached with 76 bronze plates inscribed with the names, arranged according to an algorithm, of 2,983 victims – 2,977 killed in the September 11 attacks and six killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Flower offering for one of the victims

Around the perimeter of the North Pool are the names of the employees and visitors in the North Tower (WTC 1), the passengers and crew of American Airlines Flight 11 (which struck the North Tower), and the 5 employees and a visitor, all adults, of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, all memorialized on Panel N-73.

North Pool

Around the perimeter of the South Pool are the names of the employees and visitors in the South Tower (WTC 2), the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 175 (which struck the South Tower), the employees, visitors, and bystanders in the immediate vicinity of the North and South Towers, the first responders (listed with their units) who died during rescue operations, the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 (which crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania) and American Airlines Flight 77 (which struck the Pentagon), and the employees at the Pentagon.

Though company names are not included, the company employees and visitors are listed together. Passengers on the 2 United Airlines and 2 American Airline flights are listed under their flight numbers. The phrase “and her unborn child” follows the names of ten pregnant women who died on 9/11 and one who died in the 1993 attack.

Survivor Tree

The “Survivor Tree,” a symbol of hope and rebirth, is a 2.4 m.( 8-ft.) tall callery pear tree (planted during the 1970s near Buildings 4 and 5, in the vicinity of Church St.) which was recovered, badly burned with one living branch, from the rubble at the World Trade Center site on October 2001. Nursed back to health by the Bronx nursery, the then 9.1 m. (30 ft.) tall tree was returned, on December 2010, to the World Trade Center site and is now a prominent part of the memorial.

September 11 Memorial Museum

The September 11 Memorial Museum, dedicated on May 15, 2014 and opened to the public on May 21, was built at the former location of Fritz Koenig‘s The Sphere, a large metallic sculpture placed in the middle of a large pool between the Twin Towers.  Designed by Davis Brody Bond, the museum, about 21 m. (70 ft.) below ground and accessible through a pavilion designed by Snøhetta,  encloses 10,000 m2 (110,000 sq. ft.) of publicly accessible space. Its exhibits include 23,000 images, 10,300 artifacts (including wrecked emergency vehicles, two tridents from the Twin Towers and pieces of metal from all seven World Trade Center buildings including the last piece of steel to leave Ground Zero in May 2002), nearly 2,000 oral histories of those killed  (mostly provided by friends and families) and over 500 hours of video.

National September 11 Memorial & Museum: 180 Greenwich St, New York City, New York 10007. Open daily, 7:30 AM – 9 PM. Admission: US$24/adult, children below 12 years old is free.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York City, U.S.A.)

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, often referred to as The Guggenheim, is the permanent home, of a continuously expanding collection of Impressionist, early Modern and contemporary art and also features special exhibitions throughout the year.

Museum Lobby

Overlooking Central Park, the site’s proximity to the park afforded relief from the noise, congestion and concrete of the city and nature also provided the museum with inspiration.  In 2013, nearly 1.2 million people visited the museum, and it hosted the most popular exhibition in New York City.

Atrium

Established in 1939 by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation  (established in 1937, it fosters the appreciation of modern art) as the Museum of Non-Objective Painting.  The museum adopted its current name in 1952, after the death of its founder.

The skylight

In 1959, the museum moved, from rented space, to its current Modernist, distinctively cylindrical building, a landmark work of 20th-century architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright who experimented with his organic style in an urban setting.

It took him 15 years, 700 sketches, and six sets of working drawings to create the museum. The museum underwent extensive expansion and renovations in 1992 (when an adjoining tower was built) and from 2005 to 2008.

Three sculptures by Edgar Degas

Three sculptures by Constantin Brancusi

The building was conceived, by Rebay, as a “temple of the spirit” that would facilitate a new way of looking at the modern pieces in the collection.

The Studio (1928,oil and black crayon on canvas, Pablo Picasso)

Accordionist (1911, oil on canvas, Pablo Picasso)

Woman With Yellow Hair (1931, oil on canvas, Pablo Picasso)

The only museum designed by Wright and his last major work (he died six months before its opening on October 21, 1959), the appearance of the building, viewed from the street, is in sharp contrast to the typically rectangular Manhattan buildings that surround it (a fact relished by Wright).

Bend in the Road Through the Forest (Paul Cezanne)

Still Life Plate of Peaches (Paul Cezanne)

Still Life Flask, Glass and Jug (Paul Cezanne)

It looks like a white ribbon curled into a cylindrical stack, wider at the top than the bottom, and displaying nearly all curved surfaces.

Circumcision (oil on canvas, 1946, Jackson Pollock)

Plate from Poor Richard suite (1971, Philip Guston)

Internally, Wright’s plan for the viewing gallery was for the museum guests to ride to the top of the building by elevator, to descend, at a leisurely pace, along the gentle slope of the unique, continuous helical ramp gallery, extending up from ground level in a long, continuous spiral (recalling a nautilus shell) along the outer edges of the building and ending just under the ceiling skylight at the top.

The Antipope (December 1941–March 1942, Max Ernst)

Polyphonic (1945 Oil on canvas, Perle Fine)

The atrium of the building was to be viewed as the last work of art. The open rotunda afforded viewers the unique possibility of simultaneously seeing several bays of work on different levels and even to interact with guests on other levels.

Black Lines (Vassily Kandinsky)

Striped (1934, oil with sand on canvas, Vassily Kandinsky)

Wright’s spiral design, embracing nature, with continuous spaces flowing freely one into another, also expresses his take on Modernist architecture’s rigid geometry.

Dining Room on the Garden (1934-35, oil on canvas, Pierre Bonnard)

Invention (Composition No. 3) – 1933,oil on canvas, Rudolf Bauer

To reduce the cost, the building’s surface was made out of concrete, inferior to the stone finish, with a red-colored exterior, that Wright had wanted and which was never realized.

Men in the City (1919, oil on canvas, Fernand Leger)

The Smokers (1911-12, oil on canvas, Fernand Leger)

Also largely for financial reasons, Wright’s original plan for an adjoining tower, artists’ studios and apartments also went unrealized until the renovation and expansion.

Eiffel Tower (1911, oil on canvas, Robert Delaunay)

Portrait of Countess Albazzi, (1880, Pastel on primed canvas, Edouard Manet)

Wright’s carefully articulated lighting effects for the main gallery skylight had been compromised when it was covered during the original construction but, in 1992, was restored to its original design.

In the Vanilla Grove, Man and Horse (Paul Gaugin)

The Kiss (1927, Max Ernst)

The “Monitor Building” (as Wright called it), the small rotunda next to the large rotunda, was intended to house apartments for Rebay and Guggenheim but, instead, became offices and storage space. In 1965, the second floor of the Monitor building was renovated to display the museum’s growing permanent collection.

Nude Model in the Studio (1912-13, oil on burlap, Fernand Leger)

With the 1990–92 restoration of the museum, it was turned over entirely to exhibition space and christened the Thannhauser Building, in honor of art dealer Justin K. Thannhauser, one of the most important bequests to the museum. Much of the interior of the building was restored during the 1992 renovation.

Orphism (Robert Delauney)

Also in 1992, a new, adjoining rectangular 10-storey limestone tower, taller than the original spiral and designed by the architectural firm of Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects, expanded the exhibition space with the addition of four additional exhibition galleries with flat walls.

Knight Errant (1916, oil on canvas, Oskar Kokoschka)

Yellow Bar (Rolph Scarlett)

Between September 2005 and July 2008, the museum underwent a significant exterior restoration to repair cracks and modernize systems and exterior details. It was completed on September 22, 2008.  On October 6, 2008, the museum was registered as a National Historic Landmark.

Improvisation 28 (second version) – Vassily Kandinsky

In 2001, the museum opened the 8,200 sq. ft. (760 m2) Sackler Center for Arts Education (a gift of the Mortimer D. Sackler family), a facility located on the lower level of the museum, below the large rotunda.

Woman with Parakeet (1871, oil on canvas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir)

Listening (1920, oil on canvas, Heinrich Campendonk)

It provides classes and lectures about the visual and performing arts and opportunities to interact with the museum’s collections and special exhibitions through its labs, exhibition spaces, conference rooms and 266-seat Peter B. Lewis Theater.

Paris Through the Window (1913, oil on canvas, Marc Chagall)

The Flying Carriage (1913, oil on canvas, Marc Chagall)

The Soldier Drinks (1911-12, oil on canvas, Marc Chagall)

Beginning with Solomon R. Guggenheim‘s original collection works of the old masters since the 1890s, the museum’s collection (shared with the museum’s sister museums in Bilbao, Spain, and elsewhere) has grown organically, over eight decades. It is founded upon several important private collections. Here’s a chronology of the museum’s acquisitions:

Personage (1925, oil on canvas, Juan Miro)

  • In 1948, the collection was greatly expanded through the purchase of art dealer Karl Nierendorf’s estate of some 730 objects, notably German expressionist.

Mountains at Saint Remy (1889, oil on canvas, Vincent Van Gogh)

Landscape with Snow (1888, oil on canvas, Vincent Van Gogh)

Before the Mirror (1876, oil on canvas, Edouard Manet)

Arc of Petals (Alexander Calder)

Adam and Eve (Constantin Brancusi)

Little French Girl (Constantin Brancusi)

On Brooklyn Bridge (1917, oil on canvas, Albert Gleizes)

Woman with Animals (1914, oil on canvas, Albert Gleizes)

  • In 1992, the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation donated 200 of Mapplethorpe’s best photographs to the foundation, an acquisition that initiated the foundation’s photography exhibition program.  Spanning his entire output, it includes early collages, Polaroids, portraits of celebrities, self-portraits, male and female nudes, flowers and statues, mixed-media constructions and included his well-known 1998 Self-Portrait.

  • In 2001, a large collection of the Bohen Foundation was gifted to the foundation. It consists of commissioned works of art (Pierre Huyghe, Sophie Calle, etc.), with an emphasis on film, video, photography and new media.

The building has been widely praised and inspired many other architects. However, the design polarized architecture critics who believed that the building would overshadow the museum’s artworks.

Alchemy (Jackson Pollock)

Some artists have also protested the display of their work in such a space. The continuous spiral ramp gallery, tilted with non-vertical curved walls, presented challenges to the museum’s ability to present art at all as it is awkward and difficult to properly hang paintings in the shallow, windowless concave exhibition niches that surround the central spiral.

The Neighborhood of Jas de Bouffan (Paul Cezanne)

Bibemus (Paul Cezanne)

Canvasses must be mounted raised from the wall’s surface. Paintings hung slanted back would appear “as on the artist’s easel.” There was also limited space within the niches for sculpture.

The Break of Day (1937, oil on canvas, Paul Delvaux)

Landscape Near Antwerp (1906, oil on canvas, Georges Braque)

The slope of the floor and the curvature of the walls also combined to produce vexing optical illusions. Three-dimensional sculpture or any vertical object appears tilted in a “drunken lurch.”

The Sun in Its Jewel Case (Yves Tanguy)

To compensate for the space’s weird geometry, special plinths were constructed at a particular angle, so that pieces were not at a true vertical would appear to be so.

The Red Bird (1944, oil on canvas, Adolph Gottlieb)

Fruit Dish on a Checkered Table Cloth (Juan Gris)

However, this trick proved impossible for an Alexander Calder mobile whose wire inevitably hung at a true plumb vertical, “suggesting hallucination” in the disorienting context of the tilted floor.

The Fourteenth of July (Pablo Picasso)

Bird on a Tree (Pablo Picasso)

Three Bathers (Pablo Picasso)

Some of the most popular and important art exhibitions held here include:

  • The first season “Works and Process,” a series of performances at the Guggenheim begun in 1984, consisted ofPhilip Glass with Christopher Keene on Akhnaten and Steve Reich and Michael Tilson Thomas on The Desert Music.
  • “Africa: The Art of a Continent” (1996)
  • “China: 5,000 Years” (1998)
  • “Brazil: Body & Soul” (2001)
  • “The Aztec Empire” (2004)
  • The Art of the Motorcycle– an unusual exhibition of commercial art installations of motorcycles.
  • The 2009 retrospective of Frank Lloyd Wright – the museum’s most popular exhibit (since it began keeping such attendance records in 1992), it showcased the architect on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the building.

Dancers in Green and Yellow (1903, pastel and charcoal on tracing paper mounted to paperboard, Edgar Degas)

In The International, a shootout occurs in the museum. A life-size replica of the museum was built for this scene. 

Tableau No. 2, Composition No. VII (1913, Oil on Canvas, Piet Mondrian)

Composition 8 (Piet Mondrian)

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum: 1071 Fifth Avenue corner East 89th Street, Upper East Side, Manhattan, New York City, NY 10128, USA. Tel: +1 212-423-3500. E-mail: visitorinfo@guggenheim.org. Open 10 AM – 5:45 PM. Admission: US$25 for adults, US$18 for students and seniors (65 years + with valid ID), children below 12 years old is free.