Tuesday, July 28, 2015

St Thomas Church on 5th Avenue

Do you ever find you walk right past beautiful things constantly, but don't appreciate them? Saint Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue is one of those places. We all know the famous St. Patrick's Cathedral, however, this church is pretty amazing too! 

Here is some history on the building from the Saint Thomas Church website: 

The current Saint Thomas Church is actually the fourth church for the parish. The third church, which was also at the current site at Fifth Avenue and Fifty-third Street, suffered a devastating fire in 1905. The first worship service in the current church was on October 4, 1913. We mark the centennial with events planned throughout the 2013-14 choral season.

Designed by the distinguished architectural firm of Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson and completed in 1913, Saint Thomas Church is built in the French High Gothic style, with stone ornamentation of the later Flamboyant period in the windows, small arches of the triforium, and stonework surrounding the statuary in the reredos. The flat wall behind the altar is characteristic of English cathedrals, and the magnificent reredos, one of the largest in the world, is strongly suggestive of the single, massive windows that terminate the naves of many English churches designed in the Perpendicular style.

Except for its length, Saint Thomas is of cathedral proportions, with the nave vault rising 95 feet above the floor. The church is built completely of stone, according to medieval construction principles, using load-bearing rib vaulting without the space-spanning benefits of steel. The size, spacing, and number of columns and arches are precisely what is necessary to support the structure - and give it the unique acoustical properties associated with churches built of the same materials and in the same way during the Middle Ages.

When you walk in New York City, you always should look around you because this type of architecture is everywhere! I feel bad I never really took a good look at this church when walking by a zillion times! My next step is to go inside, and see the beauty that it holds. The church doors are open every day of the year, and give tours on Sundays after 11am service or by appointment. 

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