One of the architectural adornments of lower New York is the noble Gothic pile of Trinity Church, set in its churchyard on Broadway at the head of Wall street. Its proportions have been dwarfed by the surrounding office buildings, which tower above the spire, but the dignity and beauty of Trinity have in no wise been diminished; the contrast between its restful repose and the turmoil of Broadway is as grateful to-day as ever; and the open gate still as persuasively invites us to turn aside for a moment within the twilight of its aisles, or to stroll amid the head-stones where so many thousands are sleeping the long sleep.
The Trinity Church is the third of those which have stood here since 1697. The first one was burned in the great fire of 1776, which destroyed 500 buildings, and the second one, having become unsafe, was pulled down to make way for the present edifice, which was completed in 1846. It is of brown sandstone, and is regarded as a fine specimen of the Gothic style. Thousands of visitors to New York have in years past climbed Trinity's steeple for the view, but the skyscrapers have changed that. The finial cross is 284 feet above the pavement, while the American Surety Building across Broadway is 306 feet, the Manhattan Life Building 348 feet, and the Empire Building 300 feet. In the belfry is the famous chime of bells. On New Year's Eve thousands of people come
down to Trinity to hear the chimes ring out the old year and welcome the new.
The BRONZE DOORS which adorn the entrances of the Trinity Church were given by William Waldorf Astor as a memorial of his father, John Jacob Astor. The Central Door is by Carl Bitter. The subjects of the panels are drawn from the Bible:
Genesis III.: 23-24—The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden. Genesis XXVIII.: 10-13—Jacob's Dream of the Ladder ascending to Heaven. St. Luke I.: 28-38—The Annunciation.
St. Matthew XXVIII.: 1-8—The Resurrection. (The two Marys at the tomb.) Revelation IV.: 6, 10, 11—The Vision of the Throne.
Revelations VI.: 15, 16, 18—The Opening of the Sixth Seal.
In the borders and tympanum are statuettes of the Twelve Apostles.
The North Door is by J. Massey Rhind. The subjects are:
Exodus XII.: 23—The Passover in Egypt. (A Hebrew is anointing the lintel and door post with blood that his first born may be spared.)
Deuteronomy XIX.: I-6—The City of Refuge (to the gate of which a fugitive from vengeance has just come).
Acts III.: 1, 2—The miraculous cure by St. Peter and St. John of the man lame from his birth.
Acts XVI.: 25-28—Paul and Silas leaving the prison after the earthquake.
Doniine quo vadis—The legend, as told in a sermon attributed to St. Ambrose, is that as St. Peter was fleeing from Rome to escape persecution, he met his Master going into the city; and to the Apostle's Domine quo vadis—"Lord, whither goest Thou?" the answer was given, "I go to Rome to be crucified again."
Revelation XXII.: 14—The blessed "enter in through the gate into the city."
The South Door is by Charles H. Niehaus. The subjects are historical:
Hendrik Hudson off Manhattan Island, Sept. 11, 1609.
Hudson off Manhattan Island, Sept. 11, 1609.
Dr. Barclay Preaching to Indians, 1738. Barclay was one of the early missionaries supported by Trinity.
Washington at St. Paul's Chapel after his Inauguration, April 30, 1789. Consecration of Four Bishops in St. Paul's Chapel, Oct. 31, 1832.
Consecration of Trinity Church, May 21, 1846.
Dedication of the Astor Reredos, June 29, 1877.
The statues of the Evangelists, above the doors on the north and south, were presented by William Fitzhugh Whitehouse.
The interior of Trinity Church is of impressive size. Rows of sculptured stone columns support the groined roof; the light comes in subdued and warmed by the stained glass windows, and the chancel is magnificent with the superb altar and reredos which were given by John Jacob Astor and William Astor in memory of their father, William B. Astor. The altar is of pure white marble; its face is divided by shafts of red stone into three panels; in the center panel is a Maltese cross in mosaic set with cameos, with a Christ head, and the symbols of the Evangelists. The reredos is of Caen stone and alabaster. The three panels on each side and the large one in the center contain sculptures of scenes in the life of Christ; and above are statuettes of the Twelve Apostles. The reredos is 20 feet high, and fills almost the entire width of the chancel.
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