Church of St. Paul and ST. Andrew – but what is hidden inside?

On the corner of West 86th Street and West End Avenue stands a very large church that is looking its age but the church’s mission is very current.

The Church of ST. Paul and St. Andrew was built in 1834

The front has very impressive large wooden doors that are all locked during the week days. There is a door open on 86th Street. Pleasantly surprised, I was greeted by a person at the desk who quickly invited me to see the church.

I like going into NYC churches because they often look the same on the outside but are, mostly, different on the inside. The St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral on 96th stands out with its golden icons and no pews while this church has a unique large Sanctuary(1500 seats), a separate Social Hall and additional intimate spaces.

It seems that the church is well used, This Saturday, a small group was meeting in the small chapel and three people were,in the Sanctuary practicing some music scales,

Video – quiet time to practice – sorry about the ads

So, what is hidden ? Located in a back corridor were these beautiful paintings

I asked about them and was told that these were but a few of many placed throughout the building.

Question: “Why were these painted and why are they hanging on the walls?

Answer: they were done by a former parishioner that painted them over many years.

I asked if anyone knew the name of the artist but got only blank responses. One person said, “they have been here for years”.

I will try to update this blog by finding out more about the history as they are beautiful and should, I think, be part of a folk-art collection.

For me, these gems were hidden in plain sight. Each one beautifully composed and painted in bright colors. They were the highlight of my day!

Just a short walk west leads to the Soldiers and Sailors monument and Joan of Arc monument.

St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral

How the Church survives

The Church is known for being socially moderate and for being accepting of people of all races, ages, and sexual orientations. The building holds a variety of spaces to rent, ranging in capacity from 25 to 1200 people.

A Grotto in a New York City Church – worth a visit

The Notre Dame Church- worth the visit.
St John the Divine Cathedral

New York City is perhaps one of the few American cities that has such a diverse culture.  In this city ,you can find dozens of unique  churches, buildings and neighborhoods like Saint John the divine Cathedral.

Today, I am not writing about the Cathedral but a church, I would guess, most  visitors to the Cathederal would never visit and it is only  a few blocks away.

405 West 114th Street 
New York, NY 10025


The Notre Dame Church, where you can experience a replica of the grotto in Lourdes France, where in 1858 Saint Bernadette was said to have witnessed the appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary.It rises several stories behind the main altar.

The Church of Notre Dame.   
405 West 114th Street


This chapel has an impressive French neoclassical exterior and is equally matched with the interior that boasts a Grotto that rises SEVERAL stories behind the main altar.


Although this grotto was built inside after the church was completed.It feels as if the church has been built directly into the side of a mountain.


Fourteen inset bas-relief images of the Crucifixion of Christ adorn the perimeter of the church interior.


The altar, pulpit and balustrade (altar rail) in white Carrara marble, which took over two years to complete.


Giglio an Italian Tradition – East Harlem

A  NYC Sunday event

I enjoy going to local events like the Giglio Feast in East Harlem. While there is plenty of food – Italian sausage sandwich, grilled corn, clams and zeppole (Italian doughnuts).the main event is the lifting of the Giglio. 

The Giglio is a 75 tall wooden tower weighing over 8,000 lbs adorned with beloved saints and flowers topped with our St. Anthony Statue.

On the platform of the Giglio sits a full band along with a singer playing live music. The Giglio tower & band are carried on the shoulders of 120 members and danced through the streets.

Established in 1908 in Italian East Harlem, once the largest Little Italy in America, it now continues the tradition on a smaller neighborhood scale.



NYC – East Village Update

 This blog contains some newer information about the East Village. Also, It contains some material from previous blogs.


The East Village changed plenty over the last few decades but one thing remains consistent: its creative scene and artsy vibe.

Today, despite continuing development, remnants of its grungy, literary, counter-culture past remain and can be seen in graffiti and street-art-covered facades, quirky and charming, independently owned shops like Trash and Vaudeville, cultural hotspots like Nuyorican Poets Café and tenement buildings. They all lend themselves to the area’s walkability and allure.

While the East Village is saturated with popular bars and restaurants, other stand-out qualities are its quaint community gardens that provide mini pockets of escape from the buzzing thoroughfares like East Houston Street, Second Avenue and Avenue A.

The neighborhood is divided into smaller subsections.

St Marks Pl, New York, NY

St. Mark’s Place


St. Mark’s Place, which runs from Third Avenue to Avenue A down E. Eighth Street, is a buzzing corridor of restaurants, tattoo parlors and small bazaars often frequented by eclectic shoppers and tourists.

Alphabet City, composed of Avenues A, B, C and D, is now a long way from its once-notorious image as a sketchy, unsafe place. Avenue C is co-named Loisaida Avenue, a term coined by Alphabet City’s Puerto Rican or Nuyorican population.

Historically the East Village was considered an extension of the Lower East Side and served as a hub for working class migrants. During the 1950s and ’60s and into the ’80s musicians, artists and writers flocked to the area because of its affordability.


Ukrainian East Village Restaurant

This well-loved eatery serves up authentic Ukrainian comfort food like pierogi and halusky or for vegetarians, the Vegetable Schnitzel, in an old-fashioned setting.

Veniero’s Italian Bakery

Established in 1894, this famed, historic dessert spot is a must-visit in East Village. The café exudes an old-world style and ambiance, and treats like cannoli, biscotti and chocolate mousse cake await those with an insatiable sweet tooth.

Casa Adela

Authentic Puerto Rican cuisine like mofongo, chuletas fritas and sancocho are served in this casual and laid back family-run spot that is popular among locals.

To Drink


McSorley’s Old Ale House

One of New York City’s oldest haunts, McSorley’s was established in 1854 and calls itself NYC’s oldest Irish tavern. Grab a bite and sip on their light or dark beer while getting a history lesson from its walls of old newspaper clippings and pictures. Sawdust on the floor and communal tables add to its historic feel.

Please Don’t Tell

The only way to get into this secret bar is through a vintage phone booth in Crif Dog. There’s actually much to dish about on this cozy and classy speakeasy, which offers hot dogs alongside cocktails. 212

Interesting  – dare you!

Russian & Turkish Baths

Since 1892 New Yorkers have been relaxing in this well-known spot’s redwood and Russian saunas and aromatherapy room. Treatments include the Dead Sea salt scrub, black mud treatment and the platza oak leaf in which the specialist beats you with oak leaves drenched in olive oil soap.

Obscura Antiques & Oddities

The well-known quirky and sometimes eerie antique shop, featured on the Discovery Channel show “Oddities,” offers plenty by way of the creepy and unusual. Go for the reputation, leave with a skull, marbles of insects or another mysterious object of sorts

Thanks to for the material.

NYC – glowing eyes – secret doors – Broadway

As I was walking down Broadway I started to think about all the famous people in the past who lived on or near Broadway.   You can find out about these stories very easily but maybe you would like to find the answers to the following questions, so read on…

 The walk is not inclusive nor will the answers be necessarily close to each other.

  • Where did the first ball drop on New Years Eve?

  • What is a “Motogram”?

  • Does Macy’s  own everything?

  • What do eyes and owls have in common?

  • Do you know who Stuff and Guff are?

  • Did you know that you can walk with Gandhi in NYC?

  • Where in NYC is Bloomingdale Village?

  • Did the “Breadline” originate in NYC?

  • A hidden store?

  • What’s with the Bull?

    23 Skido

Let’s start by going down Broadway

Times Square

Have you ever watched or been at the dropping of the ball on New year’s eve?IMG_2193 The celebration has been at Times Square only since 1908  as part of a fireworks display celebrating the NY Times move to 42nd Street. Where was it held before? The ball, used to drop from Trinity Church downtown. A little fact: The Times moved off the Square in 1913, but the name stuck. This is an easy one.         download Where is the  world’s first illuminated news ticker ? Of course the Times  Tower – it has been modernized but the news ticker (dubbed the“Motogram”) circles the building; it got its start reporting the 1928 election returns.

Herald Square


  Since 1902, the famous department store founded by Capt. Rowland Hussey Macy, a former whaling captain whose red star tattoo is still the store’s symbol (and a whale is still used in sales ads). has taken up (almost) the entire block, this still holds the record for the world’s largest store. Did I just read, “taken up (almost) the entire block? The one part of the block not owned by Macy’s is, ironically, the southeast corner with the enormous “Macy’s” sign on it. When Macy’s was buying up the block, competitor Henry Siegel of the Siegel-Cooper department store snatched up the corner. Macy’s simply built around the holdout, and now leases the space   Manhattan_Herald_Square_James_Gordon_Bennett_Memorial Do you know who Stuff and Guff are? The James Gordon Bennett Memorial. This monument marks the location of the former New York Herald building, torn down in 1921. James Gordon Bennett, Jr., the newspaper’s publisher, was obsessed with owls: he kept a few live ones in his office, collected stuffed specimens, and had even planned to be buried in a 125-foot owl-shaped tomb in Washington Heights, perched on a 75-foot pedestal. Also, Bennett had the roof of the Herald building adorned with bronze owl statues, whose eyes lit up when nearby clocks tolled the hour. When the building was razed, its statuary was saved along with its clocks (whose working components date back to 1895). They were later incorporated into the monument to Bennett, built in 1940. The bellringers, which swing their hammers on the hour, are nicknamed Stuff and Guff. Let’s get a bit closer.  Perched on top of the James Gordon Bennett monument are a pair of bronze owls. And throughout the night, every second or two… their eyes light up a brilliant shade of eerie green:Nowadays, the eyes blink continually throughout the night, alternating about every other second. If you go at night you will see the glowing green eyes watching your every move.’  owl eyes


door for herald Not quite finished with monument… Is there a Secret Society that uses a room below this monument? At the back of the monument is steel door that is locked and has a “French Saying” which   is translated idiomatically as “Let’s sleep on it.” The door also has a moon, an owl, and 5 five-pointed stars has led conspiracy theorists to claim it as evidence of Bennett’s involvement in a secret society (apparently, owls are a common motif). The fact that there is no known explanation for it certainly adds fuel to the fire

 Village of  Bloomingdale in NYC?   At 23rd Street and Broadway (Broadway was then known as Bloomingdale Road and went north to Bloomingdale Village (Around 114th Street) You would catch a stage to Albany from this location. Also, Broadway from 23rd Street down to 10th Street was called the “Ladies Mile” for its fashionable stores


FLatiron Building (23rd Street)

Ever hear of phrase “23 Skidoo” or certainly the word “Scram”?

wind .   It is said that the building created unusual eddies in the wind which would cause women’s skirts to fly around as they walked on 23rd street. This attracted throngs of young men who gathered to view the barelegged spectacle. Police would try to disperse these knots of heavy-breathers by calling to them, “23 Skidoo.” This phrase has passed out of common usage, but its descendant, the word “scram” remains in a back corner of the American lexicon.

Would you like to walk along side of Ghandhi?


You will find him inside Union Square park (14th Street)

Placed here in 1986 to commemorate Union Square’s history of (mostly) non-violent protest. The statue of Ghandhi depicts him on his famous Salt March, and there’s flagstones in the garden beside his statue that invite you to march along with him.


A few other interesting Items

The Grace Church is one of NYC’s jewels.The church yard, at the corner,  was once Fleischmann’s Vienna Model Bakery, whose daily donations of unsold bread gave rise to the term “breadline.”


A secret store hidden on Broadway at the corner of east 2nd Street there is secret store called Nom de Guerre. Behind a door marked with a sign for a copy shop is a black staircase that leads to two subterranean stories of really expensive streetwear. The building dates to 1897


Nestled between two government buildings (Reade Street) is the old African Burial Ground (1712-1795), which the federal government tried to relocate. After protests prevented the move, it became a National Historic Landmark in 1993.


This is no Bull of a story This popular statue was cast in bronze by Arturo Di Modica and left by the artist in front of the New York Stock Exchange on Broad Street in 1987 as an unasked-for Christmas gift to the city in the wake of a recent stock market crash. The city impounded the sculpture as a 7,000-pound act of vandalism, but public support for the artwork and the gesture compelled the parks department to re install it here.

NYC – World Science Festival – Washington Square Park – Astor Square

Often, I have been asked, what is there to do in the city that’s free?  This blog will be mostly pictures showing what one Sunday afternoon can be like.

Photographic samples follow –  It all happened in four square blocks.

The World Science Festival

This event was held on the NYU Campus and was the Ultimate Science Street Fair. It was truly a family event. There were many exhibits that were hands-on and had plenty of volunteers to assist. (And it as free.)

Washington Square Park

In the spring or a summer day, and you’ll find some of what makes NYC a great place to live–families and couples lingering, dozens of (impressive!) musicians claiming a bench or corner of the park to earn a few bucks, artists making or offering things of beauty, chalk and sand artists, comedians, jugglers and people looking for a challenge at the chess board. Public bathrooms.


The marble Washington Arch was built between the years 1890 and 1892 to replace a wooden arch erected in 1889 to commemorate the centennial of Washington’s inauguration.

Walking from Astor Square to Washington Park

Part of the walk between St Mark’s and Washington Square Park. This place is great to take a stroll around if you’re in the area. This is called Greenwich village:which some call a artsy fartsy, creative area.

NYC – Autumn Color – Lower East Side

Autumn in New York city is almost magical. I think it is because the air is crisp and the light is somewht different – it sems to bring out the color in everything.

I had thought to take photos of the foliage in the city but it hasn’t happened as of this writing. So, here is what you could find on a walk through a small area of Manhattan.


Note: The picture of graffitti above was one of Blansky’s first pieces in NYC (18 Allen St.). This is what it looked like before it was defaced.




NYC – Upper East Side near Central Park #3 Conservatory Gardens


Conservatory Gardens

This a very formal garden area. In warm weather it is a cool spot as it has many trellises  arbors and trees. Again, this is a peaceful place to linger. (Bathrooms are here as well). There are a few ,museums across 5th avenue and a bus stop where just about every bus can bring you back down 5th avenue. (You can take a bus on Madison Avenue to  get close to here.) At this writing. bus is $2,25 coins only/ or Metro card.




The Conservatory Garden of Central Park replaced a glass conservatory at the same location. It is a formal 6-acre garden sectioned out into three traditional styles: Italian, French and English.

  • You enter the Garden from Fifth Avenue and pass through the Vanderbilt Gate, which once bordered the entrance of the Vanderbilt mansion.
  • ·The Garden is composed of three distinct parts, skillfully restored since the 1980s, and is accessible through the Vanderbilt Gate at Fifth Avenue and 105th Street,
  • The central section of the Conservatory Garden is a symmetrical lawn outlined in clipped yew, with a single central fountain jet at the rear.
  • To the left on the south side, is the garden of mixed herbaceous borders in wide concentric bands around The Secret Garden water lily pool,
  • To the right of the central formal plat is a garden also in concentric circles, round a Fountain, that highlights the  bronze figures, Three Dancing Maidens by Walter Schott (1861-1938).

Note: Just around east 90th St and Fifth Ave there is a church on the corner. It has a very small café. The inside of the church is beautiful.

One block south is the Guggenheim Museum the street and across the street is the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum.

Going north – The Meer

NYC – Upper East Side near Central Park #1 St Nicolas Russian Church


Many visitors come to NYC never go beyond 72nd street and a few probably go up to around 86th street.  there is plenty to see and For those who venture above 86th street, there is much to see and enjoy.

St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral

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.

More places of interest (above 86th St.) next week -Reservoir