That’s A Look at Morningside Heights

I have decided to expand the meaning of “That’s A Look” to include adventures that I go on here in the city.  Similar to the street fairs post, I want to include the many “Looks” of New York.  That’s not to say I won’t include fashion finds along the way, but I thought it would be a great way to record the places I go around town.

Last weekend we went on a walking tour of the Morningside Heights neighborhood.  The area is bordered by Morningside Park on the East, West 110th on the south, Riverside Park on the West and Harlem to the north at 125th.  Meeting at 110th and Broadway, we found our tour guide, Hank, and about 18 other curious people, plus one dog.  I’d say 3/4 of the people on the tour were locals and the rest out-of-towners.

Our first stop was the Cathedral of St. John the Devine.  It is the Episcopal Cathedral and the 4th largest in the world!  It is also known as St. John the “Unfinished” because it is constantly being renovated.  It was designed in 1888 and opened in 1892.  We weren’t allowed inside because nearby Columbia University was having a graduation ceremony.  I will go back and report on the interior and the organ which is supposed to be magnificent.

Image

Off to the side of the Cathedral is the Children’s Garden.  There’s a huge statue symbolizing good vs. evil, although I thought it looked pretty strange.  An eagle, giraffe and some weird happy face all entwined.  Around the statue was a low iron border with small sculptures.  The boundary of the park also had small statues that were all created by local children.

IMG_2783

Image

The Cathedral is a main stop on the Hop On/Hop Off tour busses as well as other tour companies.  Our small group had to jockey for position to get pictures and hear our guide over all the voices. On our way back to the front of the church we passed many tour busses and this woman who had very colorful leggings on to match her dress.

Image

Our next stop was St. Luke’s Hospital and Morningside Park.  The hospital directly across the street from the Cathedral and is affiliated with Columbia University.  Morningside Park used to be one of the most dangerous parks to visit, day or night.  The community joined together to clean it up and make it safer.

Image

I thought this sign for dog owners was hilarious.  Am I supposed to try and catch something?

Image

Making our way over to Columbia University we came upon this small Catholic Church, The Eglise de Notre Dame.  It has a direct link with the “Sanctuary of Our Lady” in Lourdes, France.  Water from Lourdes is shipped to this church and available to its parish.  As we peeked in there was a First Communion service going on in French.

Image

Image

As we approached Columbia we saw this bike team.  I was drawn to their uniform shirts.  I didn’t get the chance to ask what it symbolized, but I’m guessing something spiritual.

Image

Here’s the front of the original library on campus.  It now serves as the administration building.  They were setting up for the main commencement ceremony here.

Image

The Morningside Heights neighborhood is known for its universities.  Not only is Columbia part of the neighborhood, but Barnard College, Teachers College, The Manhattan School of Music, which was the original Juilliard, and Bank Street College of Education.

Image

Image

The schools are quite close together and have really beautiful architecture.

Image

After wandering through the campuses our tour ended up at Riverside Church on Riverside Drive.  It is an interdenominational church that was conceived by John D. Rockefeller.  The congregation includes more than 40 ethnic groups.  It is the tallest church in the United States and 24th in the world!  Again, another graduation ceremony prevented us from going inside so I’ll be back!

Image

The last big stop was across from the church.  Grant’s Tomb.  This brings to mind the classic question posed by Groucho Marx, “Who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb?”   The bunting was up for the celebration of Grant’s birthday, April 27 and stays up until after Memorial Day.  It makes it look so festive!

IMG_2809

One last take away from our walk was stumbling upon a movie shoot on our way to the subway.  The block and intersection was blocked off as well as part of the subway platform.   We discovered that the movie being shot was “The Secret Life of Walter Middy” with Ben Stiller both starring in and directing.  Here’s a brief shot of some of the action.

IMG_2825

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s