St. Patrick’s Cathedral (New York City, U.S.A.)

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Our third, and final, mass in the U.S. was held at the decorated  Gothic Revival-style Cathedral of St. Patrick (commonly called St. Patrick’s Cathedral), the seat of the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York (created in 1808 and made into an archdiocese by Pope Pius IX on July 19, 1850). Held on the first Friday of July, this was our second visit to the cathedral (the first was 13 days ago) and we attended this mass to pray for a safe journey back to Manila, our flight back being just 8 hours away.

The cathedral is located on the east side of Fifth Avenue, between 50th and 51st Streets in Midtown Manhattan. Directly across the street is the Rockefeller Center and it specifically faces the Atlas statue. A prominent landmark of New York City, the land on which the present cathedral sits was purchased in 1810 and it was designed by James Renwick, Jr.  In 1976, the cathedral and its associated buildings were declared a National Historic Landmark.

Here’s some interesting trivia regarding St. Patrick’s Cathedral:

The 100.6 m. high spire

St. Patrick’s Cathedral currently has two pipe organs, both built by the firm of George Kilgen & Son of St. Louis, Missouri. They consist of more than 9,000 pipes, 206 stops, 150 ranks and 10 divisions.

The cathedral interior

The Gallery Organ,  located in the Choir Gallery below the Rose Window over the Fifth Avenue entrance and in the Triforium, near the South Transept, was edicated on February 11, 1930. It took 3 years to build at a cost of US$250,000. Designed by Robert J. Reiley, consulting architect of the Cathedral, it has one of the nation’s most glorious wood facades and is adorned with angels and Latin inscriptions. Containing 7,855 pipes, ranging in length from 32 ft. to 1/2 inch, its longest pipes run horizontally across the North and South Triforia.

The pulpit

The Chancell Organ,  located in the North Ambulatory next to the Chapel of St. Joseph, was dedicated on January 30, 1928. It has 1,480 pipes; located on the opposite side of the Ambulatory, diagonally across from the console, and is encased in a carved oak screen ornamented with Gothic elements of design and symbolism.

Stained glass windows

Here is a timeline of the cathedral’s construction:

  • On August 15, 1858, the cornerstone was laid, just south of the diocese’s orphanage.
  • Work began that same year, was halted during the Civil War,and resumed in 1865.
  • In 1878, the cathedral was completed and was dedicated on May 25, 1879.
  • In 1879, the cathedral’s first organ, composed of 4 manuals with 51 stops and 56 ranks, was built by George Jardine & Son, one of New York’s most distinguished organ builders, and installed.
  • In 1880, the archbishop’s house and rectory were, both by James Renwick, Jr.
  • In 1880, an organ by J.H. & C.S. Odell (then also from New York City), composed of 2 manuals with 20 stops and 23 ranks, was installed in the chancel.
  • An adjacent school, no longer in existence, was opened in 1882.
  • The spires were added in 1888, and at 329 feet and 6 inches (100.4 meters) were the tallest structures in New York City and the second highest in the United States.
  • From 1901 to 1906, an addition on the east, including a Lady chapel (designed by Charles T. Matthews), was constructed.
  • Between 1912 and 1930, the Lady Chapel’s stained-glass windows were made by English stained glass artist and designer Paul Vincent Woodroffe.
  • In 1927 and 1931, the cathedral was renovated, the sanctuary was enlarged and two great organs were installed.
  • In the late 1930s and early 1940s, the cathedral’s main altar area was renovated under the guidance of Archbishop (and later cardinal) Francis Spellman. The previous high altar and reredoswere removed (now located in the University Church of Fordham University). New items include the sanctuary bronze baldachin and the rose stained glass window.
  • In the 1940s and 1950s tonal changes were made on the two organs.
  • In the 1970s and 1980s, additional renovations were made on the organs by Jack Steinkampf of Yonkers, New York, particularly in the revoicing of flutes and reeds, and the addition of the Trumpette en Chamade.
  • In the 1980s, the altar was further renovated, under the direction of Cardinal John Joseph O’Connor. To be more visible to the congregation, a stone altar was built from sections of the side altars and added to the middle of the sanctuary. However, in 2013, this altar was removed.
  • In 1993, the organs underwent major restoration. new consoles for both the Gallery and Chancel Organs to replace the original ones (which had deteriorated beyond repair) were acquired. Robert Turner (of Hacienda Heights, California) constructed twin, 5-manual consoles while Solid State Logic, Ltd. of England designed and engineered the combination action. Fiber-optic wiring were used to enable both consoles to control the Gallery, Chancel and Nave Organs at the same time. In 1993, the Gallery console was finished and installed in time for Christmas Midnight Mass. In early 1994, the Chancel console was installed. In 1995, the entire Chancel Organ was restored
  • On September 15, 2007, the 10th anniversary of the organ’s renovation, the organs were blessed. The Bicentennial Concert Series was also inaugurated with a performance James E. Goettsche, the Vatican Organist.
  • In 2012, an extensive US$177 million restoration of the cathedral was begun and lasted 3 years. The exterior marble was cleaned, the stained glass windows were repaired and the ceiling was painted, among many restorations. On September 17, 2015, the restoration was completed before Pope Francis visited the cathedral on September 24 and 25, 2015.

The cathedral ceiling

Beneath the high altar is a crypt in which the nine past deceased Archbishops of New York as well as notable Catholic figures that served the Archdiocese are entombed. They include:

Plaque commemorating Pope Paul VI’s October 4. 1965 visit

The galeros of Cardinals McCloskey, Farley, Hayes and Spellman (also worn by Pope Pius XII, as Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, until the latter’s election to the papacy at the 1939 Papal conclave) are located high above the crypt at the back of the sanctuary. In 1965, the ceremony of the consistory was revised by Pope Paul VI and therefore no galero was presented to Cardinal Cooke or any of his successors.

Plaque commemorating Pope John Paul II’s second Papal visit

Requiem Masses were said at the cathedral for the following notable people:

Special memorial Masses were also held at the cathedral for the following:

The cathedral or parts of it were featured in a number of movies, TV shows, songs and literary works:

  • The climax of Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), where Taylor destroyed Earth with the AlphaOmega bomb, were set in the cathedral’s underground ruins. Centuries earlier, mutant humans surviving a nuclear holocaust founded a religion on the bomb (later depicted in Battle for the Planet of the Apes). They reconsecrated the cathedral to their new religion and installed the bomb in front of the organ pipes in place of the crucifix.
  • The TV show Futurama, Fry, Leela, et al. are visiting the sewer mutants beneath the ruins of Old New York and Fry sticks his head in the cathedral, sees the bomb, and says, “So you guys worship an unexploded atomic bomb?” A mutant replies, “Not really, it’s mostly a Christmas and Easter thing.”
  • Nelson DeMille‘s 1981 novel, Cathedral, concerning a fictional seizure and threatened destruction of the cathedral by members of the Irish Republican Army on St. Patrick’s Day, is mostly set in and around the cathedral and details of the cathedral’s structure contribute important elements to the plot.
  • The cathedral is also featured in the 1990 film Gremlins 2: The New Batch.
  • In Giannina Braschi‘s novel, Empire of Dreams (1994), the ringing of the church bells at the cathedral marks a pastoral revolution in New York City.
  • The cathedral was referenced in the song Not A Love Story by musical-theatre songwriters Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk. 

The author and son Jandy at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Catheral: 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022, USA.

New York Public Library (New York City, U.S.A.)

New York Public Library

This public library system in New York City, one of the world’s leading libraries with nearly 53 million items, is the second largest public library in the United States (behind the Library of Congress) and fourth largest in the world. A private, non-governmental, independently managed, nonprofit corporation operating with both private and public financing, this library has branches in the boroughs of ManhattanThe Bronx, and Staten Island, and affiliations with academic and professional libraries in the metropolitan area of New York State.

Courtyard

The New York Public Library, with its collection consisted of more than 1,000,000 volumes, also has four research libraries which are also open to the general public. It is famed for its possession of a Gutenberg Bible and a Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. The iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the main branch of the New York Public Library, costing US$9 million to build, was officially opened on May 23, 1911 in a ceremony presided over by President William Howard Taft. That same day, after a dedication ceremony attended by 50,000 people, the library was open to the general public.  In 1965, the building was declared as a National Historic Landmark.

Grand lobby

The massive building exterior, which has suffered damage from weathering and pollution, underwent a three-year, $50 million renovation and restoration, underwritten by a $100-million gift from philanthropist Stephen A. Schwarzman (his name was inscribed at the bottom of the columns framing the building’s entrances) and overseen by Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., and the refurbished facade was unveiled on February 2, 2011.

Stairway on the left

The library, a French Beaux-Arts masterpiece designed by architects Carrère & Hastings, was the largest marble structure up to that time in the United States. The two reclining, placid but attentive stone lions (nicknamed Patience and Fortitude) guarding the entrance, sculpted by Eward Clark Potter, was carved by the Piccirilli Brothers.

Stairway on the right

This 3-storey building’s broad street frontage, along Fifth Avenue, adds to the variety and dignity of the streetscape. The library’s main façade expands horizontally and completely dominates the field of vision. The terrace, which lifts up the building from street level, is accessed by a wide, inviting stairway.

Bust of John M. Carrere

Bust of Thomas Hastings

The central portico, composed of 3 large, semicircular arched openings with a tall, sculpted attic, is reminiscent of an ancient Roman triumphal arch (a symbolic reference suggesting a ceremonial welcome). The allegorical fountains (Truth to the right and Beauty to the left), by Frederick MacMonnies, are embedded in the walls adjacent to the portico.

Edna Barnes Salomon Room

Print and Photographs Study Room

The interior, organized around a central circulation core, has a grand entry hall, two courtyards and a modest but exquisitely-detailed lobby split into two stairs which take the visitor to the functional rooms of the second floor and then, further up, to the spacious and stately reading room on the third floor.

Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division

Today, it is equipped with computers, with access to library collections and the Internet, and docking facilities for laptops. Many writers and scholars, selected annually, have accomplished important research and writing at the library through a Fellows program that makes reserved rooms available for them.

McGraw Rotunda

The rectangular McGraw Rotunda, set beneath arched bays and over 17-ft. high paired Corinthian walnut pilasters, has a richly decorative, Renaissance-style ceiling, with coffered (sunken) panels and painted, by James Wall Finn, with the vast, luminous, 27 by 33-ft. mural “Prometheus Bringing the Gift of Fire.” The colorfully cloudy sky is provided with the bright natural light by the massively-scaled windows.

Prometheus Bringing the Gift of Fire

A set of four large arched panels by Edward Laning, featuring “The Story of the Recorded Word” (the story depicted across each of the murals illustrate crucial periods of development in the history of books and printing) were executed from 1938 to 1942 as part of a Works Progress Administration (WPA) Project, with supplies furnished by Isaac Phelps Stokes (author of the “Iconography of Manhattan Island’).

Bill Blass Public Catalog Room

Moses with the Tablets of Law, the first mural, to the left of the entrance to the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room, depicts Moses, as recorded in the Book of Exodus, descending from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments.

Moses with the Tablets of Law

The Medieval Scribe, the second mural to the right of the same door, depicts a monk of the Middle Ages copying a manuscript while, behind him, is a scene of destruction and rapine.

The Medieval Scribe

Gutenberg Showing a Proof to the Elector of Mainz, the third mural to the left of the doorway to Room 316, depicts Johann Gutenberg showing a proof of his Bible to Adolph of Nassau, Elector of Mainz.

Gutenberg Showing a Proof to the Elector of Mainz

The Linotype-Mergenthaler and Whitelaw Reid, the fourth mural to the right, depicts Ottmar Mergenthaler (America’s contribution) at the keyboard of his linotype as his patron, Whitelaw Reid of the New York Tribune, examines a page printed by the new device.

The Linotype-Mergenthaler and Whitelaw Reid

New York Public Library (NYPL): 476 5th Ave. cor. 42nd St., New York City, New York 10018, U.S.A

Copp’s Hill Burying Ground (Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.)

Copp’s Hill Burying Ground

The historic, 12,000 sq. m. (3 acre) Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, the second (and largest) cemetery in Boston (second only to the King’s Chapel Burying Ground founded in 1630), was founded on February 20, 1659. Originally named “North Burying Ground,” it is situated on land (where a wind-powered grinding mill once stood) on Copp’s Hill (named after early settler and local cobbler William Copp whose children were buried here in the 1660s) bought by the town from John Baker and Daniel Turell.

Now named “Copp’s Hill Burying Ground” (although often referred to as “Copp’s Hill Burial Ground”), it is the final resting place of over 10,000 people (buried between 1660 and 1968) and contains more than 2,200 marked graves (60% of which date to before the American Revolution), including the remains of various notable Bostonians (29 Boston Tea Party participants and 43 Revolutionary War veterans) from the Colonial Era into the 1850s.

On January 7, 1708, the cemetery was extended when the town bought additional land from Judge Samuel Sewall and his wife Hannah (part of a  pasture which she inherited from her father, John Hull, master of the mint).  On June 17, 1775, because of its height and panoramic vista, the British used this vantage point on the southwest side to establish earthworks and train their North Battery cannons on Charlestown during the Battle of Bunker Hill. Legend has it that British troops used gravestones for target practice (many have interpreted the round scars of the Capt. Daniel Malcolm grave marker to be the result of musket balls being shot at close range).

On December 18, 1809, it was further extended when the town bought, for US$10,000, additional land from Benjamin Weld and his wife Nabby after they had bought it from Jonathan Merry, who had used it as pasture.  Ten years later, Charles Wells (later mayor of Boston) bought a small parcel of land from John Bishop of Medford which he used as a cemetery. Later, this was merged with the adjacent North Burying Ground. It is no longer possible to discern the original boundaries of the cemetery because of this complicated history.

Along the Snow Hill Street side, in a potter’s field, are many unmarked graves of more than 1,000 free  African Americans who lived in the questionably named “New Guinea” community at the foot of the hill. In addition, there are 227 tombs, most of which bear inscriptions that are still legible. In addition, the grave markers and their epitaphs of thousands of artisans and tradesmen buried here reflect the nature of the 17th and 18th century economy of the North End.

Prince Hall Memorial

Reputedly, the oldest grave stone is that of Grace Berry, wife of Thomas Berry, who according to the inscription, died May 17, 1625 (5 years before Boston was settled). The well preserved stone is of old Welsh slate with quite distinct carving; the edges are ornamented with curves and at the top are carved two cherubs and the angel of death.

Grace Berry Tomb

The tomb erected by Isaac Dupee, perhaps the most ornate monument in the ground, bears a beautifully carved coat-of-arms, together with a tribute in verse.

Isaac Dupee Tomb

The town continued to maintain the site intermittently but, by 1840, the cemetery had fallen into near disuse and, by 1878, it was badly neglected. When the Freedom Trail  created in 1951, the cemetery was not an official stop but it has since been added and is now much-frequented by tourists and photographers. In 1974, the site was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Now owned by the City of Boston Parks and Recreation Department, it is part of the Historic Burying Grounds Initiative.

Michael Malcom Grave stone

Notable persons buried here include:

Copp’s Hill Burying Ground: 21 Hull St. cor. Snowhill St., Boston, 02113 Massachusetts, U.S.A. Tel: 617-635-4505.  Open daily. 10 AM  – 5 PM.

King’s Chapel (Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.)

King’s Chapel

The King’s Chapel, proudly one of the 16 historic sites (the fifth stop) on Boston’s Freedom Trail, is housed in what was formerly called the “Stone Chapel,” an 18th-century structure. The chapel, an independent Christian unitarian congregation affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association and the first Anglican church in colonial New England and overwhelmingly Puritan Boston, was founded on June 15, 1686 by Royal Governor Sir Edmund Andros  during the reign of King James II. Notable members and attendees included George Washington, Paul Revere, Thomas Hutchinson, Charles Sumner, Charles Bulfinch, Oliver Wendell Holmes  and many more

The exterior columns of chapel colonnade

The chapel was originally a wooden church built in 1688. The present larger stone (made with Quincy granite) chapel building, started in 1749 (its cornerstone was laid on August 11) and completed in 1754, was built around the wooden church.

One of the finest designs of the noted colonial architect Peter Harrison (dubbed as “America’s first architect”) of Newport, when the stone church was completed, the wooden church was disassembled, removed through the windows of the new church and the  wood shipped to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia where it was used to construct St. John’s Anglican Church.

National Historic Landmark Plaque

During the American Revolution, the chapel sat vacant or a few short months as Loyalist families left for Nova Scotia and England, but reopened, following the loss of its minister (the Rev. Henry Caner), for the funeral of Gen. Joseph Warren who was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill (June 17, 1775). In 1782, those who remained reopened the church. In 1960, the chapel was designated a National Historic Landmark  for its architectural significance. On Halloween night of 2001, the church was destroyed by fire but has since been rebuilt.

The chapel’s magnificent interior

The chapel bell, cast in England and hung in 1772, cracked in 1814 and was recast by Paul Revere (the largest bell cast by the Revere foundry and the last one cast by Paul Revere himself) and rehung. Ever since, it has been rung during Sunday morning services.

Plaque commemorating congregation members who died during the American Civil War

The exterior columns of the colonnade (completed after the American Revolution), which appear to be stone, are, in fact, wood painted in a cost-saving trompe-l’oeil.

Plaque commemorating congregation members who died during World War I and World War II

The magnificent interior, considered the finest example of Georgian church architecture in North America, features wooden columns which have Corinthian capitals hand-carved, in 1758, by William Burbeck and his apprentices.

The wooden columns with hand-carved Corinthian capitals

The current uniform appearance of the seating, in box pews, dates from the 1920s. The pews were mostly originally owned by the member families who paid pew rent and decorated the pews according to their personal tastes.

The box pews

The chapel first organ was acquired in 1723. The present organ, the chapel’s sixth, was built by C.B. Fisk in in 1964. Decorated with miters and carvings from the Bridge organ of 1756, it is slightly below average in size compared with most mid-1900s European chapel organs.

Within the King’s Chapel is a monument to London merchant Samuel Vassall, brother of the colonist William Vassall (who frequently clashed with John Winthrop, and eventually removed himself to Scituate, Massachusetts), a patentee of the Massachusetts Bay Company (also named a member of the company in its 1629 Royal Charter), an early deputy of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and a Member of Parliament (1640–1641) representing London.

Monument to London merchant Samuel Vassall

Kings Chapel: 58 Tremont Street cor. School Street, Boston, Massachusetts, MA 02108,  U.S.A. Open daily, 10 AM – 4:30 PM.  Tours: 10 AM to 5 PM, Mondays through Saturdays; and 1:30 PM to 5 PM on Sundays. Tel:+1 617-523-1749. Website: www.kings-chapel.org.

Granary Burying Ground (Boston, Massachussetts, U.S.A.)

Granary Burying Ground

The Granary Burying Ground, the city’s third-oldest cemetery, dates to 1660. A major stop in our Freedom Trail Tour, it is steps away from Boston Common and is shadowed by the towering skyscrapers of the city’s Financial District (however, just a few moments here made me forget that I was in the center of a large city). It was Independence Day when Jandy and I visited and the graves of famous personalities buried there where marked with US flags and floral wreaths. Guides, in American Colonial attire, were busy touring visitors around the cemetery.

The Egyptian Revival-style gate

This cemetery is the final resting place of many notable Revolutionary War-era patriots such as Paul Revere (pedestal-shaped gravestone behind the Franklin Memorial) , the five victims (including African-American Crispus Attucks) of the March 5, 1770 Boston Massacre (in a common grave near the Tremont Street entrance) and three signers of the Declaration of Independence – Samuel AdamsJohn Hancock and Robert Treat Paine (at the side of a brick wall).

Lady guide, in American Colonial attire, touring visitors around the cemetery

As such, because of its historical connections, this quiet but fascinating, tree-filled, shade-dappled ground has been sometimes called the “Westminster Abbey” of Boston. After 1856, most burials were prohibited here.

Tomb of John Hancock

The cemetery, adjacent to Park Street Church and immediately across from Suffolk University Law School, has 2,345 grave-markers and 204 tombs but historians estimate that as many as 5,000 people are buried in it.  The reason for this is that, to save money and space, many of the graves have multiple bodies buried, four deep, under one headstone, something that was common in most old burial grounds.

The pedestal-shaped tomb of Paul Revere

Formerly known as the New Burying Ground and South Burying Ground, in 1737 it took on the name of the Old Town Granary, the granary building which stood on the site of the present-day Park Street Church. An attempt was also made to change the name to “Franklin Cemetery,” to honor the family of Benjamin Franklin, but the effort failed.

The Franklin Memorial

The cemetery’s striking and imposing but decidedly uncolonial Egyptian Revival iron gate and fence along Tremont Street, designed in 1840 by Boston sculptor and architect Isaiah Rogers (the supervising architect of the Ohio State House, he also designed an identical gate for Newport’s Touro Cemetery and the Bunker Hill Monument), was built at a cost of US$5,000 (half paid by the city and half by public subscription).

Samuel Adams Tomb

A 21-ft. high obelisk, constructed with granite from the Bunker Hill Monument quarry and dedicated on June 15, 1827, was erected to replace the original gravestones (which had been in poor condition) of the parents and relatives of Benjamin Franklin (he was born in Boston but is buried in PhiladelphiaPennsylvania). Josiah Franklin, Franklin’s father, was originally from Ecton, Northamptonshire, England while his mother, Abiah (Josiah’s second wife), was born in Nantucket.

Robert Treat Paine Tomb

The second oldest memorial, for John Wakefield (who died on June 18, 1667, aged 52), lies near the Franklin monument. Many of the 17th century grave stones are carved with elaborate letters, death’s heads, and fruits of paradise.  The oldest grave stone, that of the children of Andrew Neal, was carved by the ‘Charlestown Carver’ and dates to 1666.

Children of Andrew Neal Tomb

Other prominent people buried here include:

Common grave of the 5 victims of the Boston Massacre

Granary Burying Ground: Tremont Street an Bloomfield Street, Boston MA 02108, Massachusetts. Open daily, 9 AM – 5PM. Tel: 617-635-4505.  Admission is free. To keep the burial ground protected, please make sure you stay on the designated paths.

How to Get There: If you are arriving by public transportation, take the Red and Green Lines/Park Street, the closest T station, to Boston Common and walk northeast on Tremont Street towards the Park St Church. Past the church you’ll find the Granary Burial Ground.

Park Street Church (Boston, Massachusetts)

Park Street Church

The Park Street Church, an active, thriving missionary-centered Conservative Congregational church with 2,000 in Sunday attendance and around 1,000 members, is a historical stop on the Freedom Trail located next to the historic Granary Burying Ground.

Its cornerstone was laid on May 1, 1809 and its construction, under the guidance of architect Peter Banner (his design is reminiscent of St. Bride’s Church in London by famous British architect Christopher Wren), chief mason Benajah Young  and woodcarver Solomon Willard, was completed by the end of the year. On January 10, 1810, it had its first worship service.

The church became known as “Brimstone Corner,” in part because of the fervent missionary character of its preaching and, in part, because of the gunpowder stored in its crypt (which gave off a ferocious smell of sulfur) during the War of 1812.

The church’s beautiful white steeple, a landmark visible from several Boston neighborhoods, rises to 66 m. (217 ft.), making the church the tallest building in the United States from 1810 to 1828. The red brick façade has white accents.  There is a little museum on the first floor.

The church is the site of a number of historical events:

Park Street Church: 1 Park St. cor. Tremont St.Boston, Massachusetts 02108. Tel: (617) 523-3383.  Website: www.parkstreet.org. Open Wednesdays – Fridays, 9:30 AM -3 PM. Worship services: Sundays 8:30 AM, 11 AM and 4 PM. Admission is free.

How to Get There: The church located right across from the Park Street subway stop (Red Line) at the edge of Boston Common.

Gallery at the Historical Museum of Natural History (Boston, Massachusetts)

RH Boston – The Gallery at the Historical Museum of Natural History

This stately Neo-Classical, red brick and-brownstone building, commanding a park-like block of Berkeley St., between Newbury and Boylston in Boston’s Back Bay, was designed by architect William Gibbons Preston in 1863.  Originally the Museum of Natural History, it was known, over the years to Bostonians, as the Bonwit Teller building and later the  home to the clothier Louis Boston.

The Neo-Classical, red brick and brownstone facade

Now Restoration Hardware’s (a California-based home-furnishings company) Boston flagship store, it was redesigned by AD 100 firm Backen, Gillam & Kroeger Architects, the designers of numerous other RH stores. To approximate the original interior, the designers consulted old photographs and architectural drawings.

In a renovation work that was, more or less, a complete gut requiring 15 months, they took out mezzanines inserted by previous tenants, removed an elevator bank that blocked the central axis through the building and painstakingly restored and recreated original millwork, plaster and steel details.

The Central Atrium

Wall, ceiling and decorative surfaces were coated in neutral gray. Most significant, to recapture views from the ground floor all the way to the gilded, coffered ceiling, they opened up the 70 ft. high, 3-storey central atrium.

The glass and steel traction elevator

Unveiled spring of 2103, the 40,000 sq. ft. RH Design Gallery is the largest outpost for this expanding retailer whose product categories includes tabletop goods (Chinese porcelain dinnerware, Belgian linens, etc.) and “objects of curiosity” (architectural fragments, faux antlers, iPod-compatible reproduction Victrolas, etc.).

When I entered glass and steel entry pavilion of this Civil War–era structure, I was enthralled by its graceful Corinthian pilasters, Romanesque arches, and monumental interior atrium. Gliding up and down the atrium is the store’s pièce de résistance – a new, custom glass and steel traction elevator modeled after the one in Los Angeles’s 1893 Bradbury Building.

The store’s four floors (including a basement level) offer a florist and a dedicated area for RH’s Baby & Child collections (featuring pint-size leather chesterfields and armchairs). In addition, there’s masculine spaces such as wine bar run by Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley (of Yountville, California).

There’s also a quartet of club rooms – a billiard lounge with a rehabbed Brunswick pool table, a cinema room where TVs play classic movies, an inviting library packed with vintage novels and design books, and a pub serving craft beers at a century-old bar surrounded by Motown and rock-and-roll memorabilia.

Sharing the floor with the club rooms is a Paris-themed “conservatory and park.” Here, outdoor furniture is displayed among artificial olive trees and a 24 ft. tall steel replica of the Eiffel Tower (a flea-market find and a fitting totem of RH’s Francophile design impulses).

Gallery at the Historical Museum of Natural History: 34 Berkeley St., Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. Website: www.restorationhardware.com.

St. Patrick’s Church (Washington, D.C., U.S.A.)

Our second mass that we attended in the US was held in St. Patrick’s Church in Washington, D.C. We have just finished hanging around the National Mall and looking at museums and, it being a Saturday, we needed a spot nearby for mass, so we all proceeded here, arriving in time for the 5:30 PM service.

St. Patrick’s Church

St. Patrick’s Church, the oldest parish in the Federal City of Washington, D.C., was founded in 1794 to minister to the needs of the Irish immigrant stonemasons building the White House and the U.S. Capitol. One of the first church buildings in the new Federal City, the initial structure on the present property was a simple frame chapel/residence. Its first pastor was Irish Dominican Fr. Anthony Caffry.  The multi-talented Fr. William Matthews, the first American to be ordained a priest in the United States, was named its pastor in 1804.

Historical plaque

The second church, built with brick and reputedly a design of parishioner James Hoban, the architect of the White House, was dedicated in 1809. In 1814, British soldiers attended Sunday mass here when they invaded the Capital and burned its public buildings. The brick church was embellished with the city’s first pipe organ, a gift pulpit from Emperor Dom Pedro I of Brazil, and a painting from Charles X of France.

The church interior

The present grand Gothic-style church was begun in 1872, under fourth pastor Fr Jacob Walter’s direction, and finally dedicated in 1884. In 1895, the church was the venue for the First National Eucharistic Congress. In 1904, the present English Gothic-style rectory and school building were completed by Fr. Denis Stafford and dedicated by Cardinal James Gibbons and Pres. Theodore Roosevelt. On September 24, 2015, Pope Francis visited St. Patrick’s Church during his tour of the United States.

The pipe organ at the choir loft

St. Patrick’s Church: 619 10th St NW, Washington, DC 20001. Tel: (202) 347-2713. Website: www.saintpatrickdc.org. Mass schedule: weekdays (12:10PM), Saturdays (12:10PM and 5:30PM) and Sundays (8AM, 10PM and 12 noon).

How to Get There: the nearest metro is the Gallery Pl-Chinatown

National Air and Space Museum (Washington D.C., U.S.A.)

National Air and Space Museum

The National Air and Space Museum (NASM) of the Smithsonian Institution is a must-see for visitors to Washington, DC. Established August 12, 1946 as the National Air Museum, it opened at its main building on the National Mall near L’Enfant Plaza in 1976.

It is a center for research into the history and science of aviation, spaceflight, planetary science, terrestrial geology and geophysics. Allow at least 2-3 hours to explore the exhibits.

Continuum of the late Charles O. Perry

Here are some interesting trivia regarding this museum:

  • It holds the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world.
  • In 2014, the museum saw approximately 6.7 million visitors, making it the fifth most visited museum in the world.
  • It is the largest of 19 museums included in the Smithsonian Institution.

Lockheed F-104A Starfighter at the second floor concourse

The museum features 22 exhibition galleries, displaying hundreds of artifacts. Many of the exhibits are interactive and great for kids. Almost all space and aircraft on display are either originals or the original backup craft.

Boeing Milestones of Flight – the main hall of the museum

Designed by St. Louis-based architect Gyo Obata of HOK , the museum, its mass similar to the National Gallery of Art and using the same pink Tennessee marble, was built by Gilbane Building Company and opened on July 1, 1976 at the height of the United States Bicentennial festivities.

The Mercury Friendship 7 and Gemini IV capsules

It has four simple marble-encased cubes containing the smaller and more theatrical exhibits, connected by three spacious steel-and-glass atria which house the larger exhibits such as missiles, airplanes and spacecraft. The west glass wall of the building, used for the installation of airplanes, also functions as a giant door. On display outside is “Continuum,” a curving metal map of the universe one by the late Charles O. Perry.

Bell X-1

The Boeing Milestones of Flight Gallery, the museum’s main hall, was reopened in July 2016. This expanded exhibition traces the interconnected stories of the world’s most significant aircraft, rockets, and spacecraft in history, milestones which have made our planet smaller and the universe larger, with digital displays and a mobile experience in a new design that stretches from one entrance to the other.

Ryan NYP Spirit of St. Louis

North American Aviation Inc. X-15A 56-6670 hypersonic research rocketplane

SS-20 and Pershing II ICBM Missiles

They also tell tales of ingenuity and courage, war and peace, politics and power, as well as society and culture.

Bell XP-59A Airacomet

Mock-up of Lunar Module

The displays, taking full advantage of the atrium’s two-storey height, includes the huge Apollo Lunar Module; the Telstar satellite; the model of the “Starship Enterprise” used in the Star Trek television series;, the Ryan NYP Spirit of St. Louis  (where Charles Lindbergh’s made his solo trip across the Atlantic); the Bell XP-59A Airacomet (the first American jet aircraft); the Bell X-1 (in which Chuck Yeager first broke the mythical “sound barrier”); the North American X-15 (the fastest aircraft ever flown); the Mercury Friendship 7 capsule (flown by John Glenn); the Mariner, Pioneer, and Viking planetary explorers; and SpaceShipOne (the first privately-developed, piloted vehicle to reach space). You can even touch a Moon rock.

The author touching a piece of the Moon

Jandy with the model of the Star Trek Starship Enterprise

The Space Race Gallery tells about that U.S.-Soviet Union space rivalry and its aftermath, from the military origins of the Space Race, through the race to the Moon and the development of reconnaissance satellites, to cooperative ventures between the two former rivals and efforts to maintain a human presence in space.

German V2 Rocket

Yuri Gagarin’s Space Suit

John Glenn’s Space Suit

Hubble Space Telescope

Some of the items on display include a German V-1 “buzz bomb” and V-2 missile, Soviet and U.S. spacecraft and space suits, a Skylab Orbital Workshop, and a full-size test version of the Hubble Space Telescope.

1970 Northrop M2-F3 CN 1

Apollo–Soyuz Test Project

V-1 Buzz Bomb

The Apollo to the Moon Gallery has an unparalleled display of artifacts from the Apollo and earlier missions with displays that range from a huge F-1 rocket engine, a scale model of the Saturn V rocket, spacesuits worn by Apollo astronauts on the Moon to space food and personal items that astronauts took into space.

Saturn V Rocket Engine

Lunar Roving Vehicle

The America by Air Gallery, exploring the history of air transportation in the United States, shows how the federal government has shaped the airline industry, how improvements in technology have revolutionized air travel, and how the flying experience has changed.

The nose section of a DC-7

Boeing 747 Forward Fuselage

Highlights include a Ford 5-AT Tri-Motor, Boeing 247, and Douglas DC-3 airliners; a cockpit simulation of an Airbus A320; and a nose from a Boeing 747 jumbo jet that you can enter.

Ford 5-AT-B Trimotor

Douglas DC-3

Boeing 247-D

The Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight Gallery, having to do with people who pushed the existing technological or social limits of flight, contains an impressive, eclectic assortment of aircraft and exhibits, each representing an unprecedented feat, a barrier overcome or a pioneering step.

Douglas World Cruiser Chicago

Fokker T-2

Things to see here include the Fokker T-2 (the airplane that made the first nonstop, coast-to-coast flight across the United States); the Douglas World Cruiser Chicago (which completed the first round-the-world flight); a Lockheed Model 8 Sirius (flown by Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh), a Lockheed Vega (flown by Amelia Earhart); the Explorer II high-altitude balloon gondola; and “Black Wings,” an exhibit on African Americans and aviation.

Lockheed Model 8 Sirius

Explorer II high-altitude balloon gondola

Lockheed Vega 5B of Amelia Earhart

The Explore the Universe Gallery shows how our ideas about the Universe evolved as we developed new astronomical instruments. It presents the Universe as discerned by the naked eye, then shows how the telescope, photography, spectroscopy, and digital technology revolutionized our view. The largest section describes what astronomers today think about the nature of the Universe. Among the many amazing treasures on display are an Islamic astrolabe from 10 centuries ago; the actual telescope tube from William Herschel‘s 20-foot telescope; the observing cage from the Mount Wilson Observatory‘s 100-inch Hooker Telescope; and the backup mirror for the Hubble Space Telescope.

World War II Aviation Gallery

Supermarine Spitfire HF.MK.VIIc

The World War II Aviation Gallery focuses on land-based fighter aviation.  Fortresses Under Fire, a Keith Ferris mural filling an entire wall, features  a B 17 Flying Fortress, with contrails streaming behind it, roaring out of a clear blue sky. 

Mitsubishi A6M5 Reisen (Zero Fighter)

North American P-51D Mustang

The mural serves as a backdrop for five fighter planes – a British Supermarine Spitfire, German Messerschmitt Bf 109, Italian Macchi C.202 Folgore, U.S. North American P-51 Mustang and a Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero.

Messerschmitt Bf 109 G (1)

Aeronautica Macchi C.202 Folgore

Also on exhibit are engines, bombs, armament, ammunition, aircrew and service uniforms from several nations, and personal memorabilia.

Artist Soldiers Exhibit

The Artist Soldiers exhibition, a collaboration between the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and National Museum of American History, examines this form of artistic expression from two complementary perspectives – one from professional artists who were recruited by the U.S. Army and served in the American Expeditionary Force (the first true combat artists) and the other from soldiers who created artwork.

Together, these works of art of soldiers shed light on World War I in a compelling and very human way by first-hand participants.

The Exploring the Planets Gallery takes you on a tour of this remarkable realm, as seen and sensed by the Voyagers and other robotic explorers. Initial sections present some historical highlights and show the various means we use to study other worlds. Sections devoted to each planet form the core of the gallery.

The author with the Blériot XI monoplane

The gaily decorated Early Flight Gallery, celebrating the first decade of flight, evokes the atmosphere of the fictitious Smithsonian Aeronautical Exposition of 1913, an aviation exhibition from that period. The gallery is crammed with fabric-covered aerial vehicles, some fanciful, most real, along with trade show–style exhibits featuring cutting-edge technology of the day.

Swedenborg Flying Machine

The Chanute Gliders

They include a rare 1894 Lilienthal glider; Samuel P. Langley’s Aerodrome #5 and Quarter-Scale Aerodrome (powered, unmanned vehicles that successfully flew in 1896 and 1903); the 1909 Wright Military Flyer (the world’s first military airplane, it is the most original and complete of the museum’s three Wright airplanes); a Curtiss Model D “Headless Pusher,” an Ecker Flying Boat, and a Blériot XI monoplane.

Curtiss D-III Headless Pusher

The Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) Gallery, made possible through the generosity of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., showcases six modern military UAVs that represent a variety of missions and technologies.

Boeing X-45A

They range from large vehicles that can carry offensive weapons to a miniature system whose components are light and compact enough to be carried in a Marine’s backpack.

AAI RQ-7 Shadow UAV

The Golden Age of Flight Gallery features the 1920s and ’30s, the period between the two world wars that saw airplanes evolve from wood-and-fabric biplanes to streamlined metal monoplanes. The military services embraced air power and aviation came of age. Air races and daring record-setting flights dominated the news and aircraft displayed here include planes used for racing and record setting such as Howard Hughes‘ sleek, record-setting Hughes H-1 Racer, the Wittman Buster midget racer (hanging near the entrance) and the Curtiss J-1 Robin Ole Miss (which stayed aloft for 27 days).  There are also planes for business travel (Beechcraft C17L Staggerwing) and exploration (the Northrop Gamma 2B Polar Star, which traversed Antarctica).

MQ-1L Predator A

The How Things Fly Gallery, devoted to explaining the basic principles that allow aircraft and spacecraft to fly, emphasizes “hands-on,” with dozens of exhibits inviting you to push, pull, press, lift, slide, handle, touch, twist, turn, spin, bend, and balance. Here you can discover for yourself answers to things you’ve always wondered about flight. You can explore the nature of gravity and air; how wings work; supersonic flight; aircraft and rocket propulsion; flying in space; and more.

1903 Wright Flyer

The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Aerial Age Gallery  celebrates the centennial of the Wright brothers‘ historic flights.  It has, as its centerpiece, the 1903 Wright Flyer, the world’s first successful airplane and historic craft that ushered in the age of flight, displayed on the floor. 

The first part of this exhibition tells the story of how Wilbur and Orville Wright invented the airplane—who they were, how they worked, and what they accomplished.

The second part shows how their monumental achievement affected the world in the decade that followed, when people everywhere became fascinated with flight. The exhibition includes many historic photographs and cultural artifacts, along with instruments and personal items associated with the Wrights.

The Moving Beyond Earth Gallery, an immersive exhibition, places visitors “in orbit” in the shuttle and space-station era to explore recent human spaceflight and future possibilities. An expansive view of the Earth as viewed from the space station drifts over one gallery wall, while a fly-around tour of the International Space Station fills another wall. A presentation stage for live events, broadcasts, and webcasts at the center of the gallery serves as the platform for Space Flight Academy, a group quiz game where visitors can test their space smarts and become “flight ready.”

Time and Navigation Gallery

Lockheed 5C Vega – Winnie Mae

The Time and Navigation Gallery explores how revolutions in timekeeping over three centuries have influenced how we find our way.

Model of USS Enterprise

The Sea-Air Operations Gallery, at the quarterdeck of the mythical aircraft carrier USS Smithsonian, a scaled-down re-creation of a hangar deck bay, has surrounding structures and equipment that are from actual aircraft carriers.

Douglas SBD-6 Dauntless

You can poke around in a ready room, a combined living room and briefing area, or go upstairs and visit the navigation bridge and PriFly, the ship’s air traffic control center. From these two rooms you can watch “cat shots” and “traps” (takeoffs and landings) filmed on a U.S. Navy carrier.

Douglas A-4C Skyhawk

Balconies overlook the four carrier aircraft in the hangar bay – a Boeing F4B-4 biplane, Grumman F4F Wildcat, Douglas SBD-6 Dauntless, and Douglas A-4C Skyhawk. Also here are exhibits on carrier warfare in World War II and on modern carrier aviation.

Boeing F4B-4

The Looking at Earth Gallery, exploring the technology of aerial and space observation and its many uses, displays aircraft and spacecraft and examples of the photographic and imaging devices used on them.

Lockheed U-2C

De Havilland DH-4

Throughout the exhibition are countless images taken from above, some are historic; others show scientific, military, or civil applications; others are simply beautiful. All allow us to examine the familiar from unfamiliar perspectives.

GOES Weather Satellite

Highlights include a De Havilland DH-4 (a World War I aircraft used for aerial observation and photography); a Lockheed U-2 (designed for Cold War aerial surveillance); personal objects of Soviet-captured U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers; and several generations of weather satellites. A “What’s New” section displays frequently updated images of current interest taken of our planet from space.

US Pilot Survival Kit

The Lunar Exploration Vehicles Gallery displays a constellation of vehicles used for lunar exploration. Dominating the space is a real lunar module, the second one built for the Apollo program. The orbital test flight of the first lunar module proved so successful that a second test flight was deemed unnecessary. The lunar module displayed here was used instead for ground testing. Six more like it landed astronauts on the Moon.

Engineering Model of Clementine

A series of unmanned lunar spacecraft preceded the manned missions. These robotic explorers transmitted images of the Moon, inspected its surface, and searched for Apollo landing sites.

Ranger Spacecraft

Examples of the three types of space probes involved in that effort—Ranger, Surveyor, and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter—hang above the lunar module, along with a more recent lunar explorer: the Moon-mapping spacecraft Clementine.

Lunar Orbiter

The Legend, Memory and the Great War in the Air Gallery reexamines aviation during World War I and contrasts romance with reality, with displays of popular culture showing how some of these myths were passed on.

German Aircraft Factory

Model of the Hindenburg

Other exhibits examine the many new roles aircraft played during the war, from battlefield reconnaissance to strategic bombing.

Pfalz D.XII

Albatross D.Va

Fokker D.VII

The gallery features several rare airplanes such as the German Pfalz D.XII, Albatros D.Va, and Fokker D.VII fighters; a British Sopwith 7F.1 Snipe fighter; and a French SPAD S.XIII fighter and Voisin VIII bomber.

Sopwith 7F.1 Snipe

Voisin Type 8

Spad XIII Smith IV

The Jet Aviation Gallery traces the development of jet technology and features many important turbojet engines introduced over four decades, along with three airplanes that helped usher in the jet age – the German Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a Schwalbe (the world’s first operational jet fighter),  the Lockheed XP-80 “Shooting Star” Lulu Belle (the prototype for the first full-production, operational U.S. jet fighter) and McDonnell FH-1 Phantom (the first jet fighter used by the Navy and Marine Corps).

McDonnell FH-1 Phantom

Lockheed XP-80 “Shooting Star” nicknamed Lulu Belle

Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a nicknamed Schwalbe (German for “Swallow”)

The Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater, with its five-storey-high screen with six-channel digital surround sound, take you on a journey through space or to natural and manmade wonders of the world.

Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket on display outside of the Lockheed Martin IMAX® Theater

The Albert Einstein Planetarium, with its high tech dual digital projection system, Sky Vision, takes you on a 20-minute tour of the universe. The museum’s three-storey gift shop is a great place to find memorable souvenirs and gifts. A food court- style restaurant is open daily from 10 AM to 5PM.

Museum Shop

National Air and Space Museum: 600 Independence Ave. at 6th St. SW, Washington, D.C. 20560, USA.  Tel: +1 202-633-2214. Open aily (except December 25), 10 AM – 5:30 PM. Website: www.airandspace.si.edu.

General Admission: free.  The 4-minute flight simulator rides cost US$6.50 per ride. IMAX movies and the Planetarium each cost US$9 per adult or US$7 per child. Shows often sell out, so purchase your tickets before viewing the rest of the museum. Tickets can be purchased in advance at (877) WDC-IMAX. After the September 11 attacks in 2001, new security measures have been created, with extensive queues  extending outside the building.

How to Get There: The closest Metro stations are Smithsonian and L’Enfant Plaza.

National World War II Memorial (Washington, D.C., U.S.A.)

National World War II Memorial

The National World War II Memorial, an American memorial of national significance, sits on a 30,000 m2  (7.4-acre) piece of land (two-thirds of which is landscaping and water) on the former site of the Rainbow Pool at the eastern end of the Reflecting Pool, between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.

The granite pillars

The memorial is dedicated to those who served in the armed forces and as civilians during World War II. It consists of 56 5.2 m. (17 ft.) tall granite pillars,  arranged in a semicircle, and a pair of small 13 m. (43-ft.) high memorial triumphal arches (crafted by Rock of Ages Corporation, the northern arch is inscribed with “Atlantic,” the southern one, “Pacific“), on opposite sides, surrounding a plaza and fountain.

The author with the Atlantic Arch in the background

Its design was based on Friedrich St. Florian‘s initial design, selected in 1997 during a nationwide design competition that drew 400 submissions from architects from around the country but altered during the review and approval process. On September 2001, ground was broken and the construction was managed by the General Services Administration.

The Pacific Arch

Opened on April 29, 2004, it was dedicated by President George W. Bush on May 29, 2004. On November 1, 2004, the memorial became a national park  when authority over it was transferred to the National Park Service (under its National Mall and Memorial Parks group). As of 2009, more than 4.4 million people visit the memorial each year. In 2012, the memorial’s fountain was renovated.

The memorial’s fountain

Each of the 56 pillars, all consisting of oak (symbolizing military and industrial strength) laurel wreaths and wheat (symbolizing agricultural and breadbasket during the U.S. part in the war) laurel wreath. is inscribed with the name of one of the 48 U.S. states (as of 1945), as well as the District of Columbia, the Alaska TerritoryTerritory of Hawaii, the Commonwealth of the PhilippinesPuerto RicoGuamAmerican Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The pillar of the Commonwealth of the Philippines

The plaza is 102.97 m. (337 ft., 10 in.) long and 73.2 m. (240 ft., 2 in.) wide and is sunk 1.8 m. (6 ft.) below grade.  It contains a pool that is 75.2 × 45 m. (246 ft., 9 in. by 147 ft., 8 in.). The memorial also includes two, inconspicuously located “Kilroy was here” engravings which acknowledges the significance of the symbol to American soldiers during World War II and how it represented their presence and protection wherever it was inscribed.

Excerpt from a speech by Pres. Harry S. Truman

Excerpt from Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech

The lettering for the memorial was designed by the John Stevens Shop and most of the inscriptions were hand-carved in situ. Laran Bronze, in Chester, Pennsylvania, cast all the bronzes over the course of two and a half years.

Some of the inscriptions

The Battle of Midway

The baldacchinos of the Pacific and Atlantic Arches each have laurel wreaths suspended in the air, with 4 bronze eagles carrying it, all created by sculptor Raymond Kaskey. The stainless-steel armature that holds up the eagles and wreaths was designed at Laran, in part by sculptor James Peniston, and fabricated by Apex Piping of Newport, Delaware. The chandelier sculpture symbolizes the victory of the War with the Nation’s bird carrying a Grecian symbol of victory but with an American adaptation of oak laurel wreaths to symbolize strength.

Seal using the World War II Victory Medal design

On approaching the semicircle from the east, I walked along one of two walls (right side wall and left side wall) with 24 bronze bas-relief panels (also created by sculptor Raymond Kaskey) that depict wartime scenes of combat and the home front. The scenes, as I approached on the left (toward the Pacific Arch), begin with soon-to-be servicemen getting their physical exams, taking the oath, being issued military gear, and progresses through several iconic scenes, including combat and burying the dead, ending in a homecoming scene.

The memorial flagpole

There is a similar progression on the right-side wall (toward the Atlantic arch) but the scenes are generally more typical of the European theatre with some scenes taking place in England, depicting the preparations for air and sea assaults. The last scene is of a handshake between the American and Russian armies when the western and eastern fronts met in Germany.

The Price of Freedom

The Freedom Wall, on the west side of the memorial, has a view of the Reflecting Pool and Lincoln Memorial behind it. The wall has 4,048 gold stars, each representing 100 Americans who died in the war. In front of the wall lies the message “Here we mark the price of freedom”

Jandy at the fountain area

National World War II Memorial: National MallWashington, D.C.