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NYC – an unexpected slice of Russia on east 97th street

I have a habit of trying to look into churches. Many times the doors are locked but today, I noticed , the door  of this east 97th st church was ajar. Immediately, I knew I had entered an orthodox church – what a feeling! The church was empty except for a cleaning woman and a woman praying. There are no pews or seats.  The room is filled with candle holders (I imagine during services full of candle light) and religions items. Here’s some more information.

St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral

 

This impressive Upper East Side Cathedral, built at the turn of the 19th century, remains the center of Russian Orthodoxy in the United States. Five onion domes distinguish the opulent, red-brick structure that was inspired by the great architectural edifices of Tsarist Russia.

The structure is a slice of old Moscow dropped onto 97th Street. If the congregation had no money when they started the project, the finished structure gives no hint of it. Exotic onion domes clustered above the red brick and limestone façade which is decorated in green, yellow and blue glazed tiles. Gilt bronze ribs stand out against the painted surfaces of the domes.

Inside is a blaze of traditional Russian decoration. Bright multicolored frescoes adorned the walls and ceilings. To cross the threshold is to leave New York and enter Russia.

Hint: Always ask if you can take flash or no-flash photographs before taking pictures. Also, if you get a lot of great shots then a small contribution to a candle offering is always a nice way to say thank you.

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