Posts Tagged ‘Church of the Intercession’

The uptown Museum Row no one knows about

May 22, 2014

It was a visionary idea around 1900: the construction of a majestic cultural complex in the wide-open, breezy space between Riverside Drive and Broadway at 155th Street.

AudubonterracesignAt the time, this area of Upper Manhattan, once part of the estate of artist James Audubon in the 1840s, was being developed into a residential neighborhood.

Builders were putting up apartment houses and flats in what they hoped would be a prime part of the city. Adding a beautiful museum row would enhance the area and give it cultural cache.


So the Beaux Arts-style, granite and limestone structures were built, centered around a brick walkway and sunken courtyard and marked by a wrought-iron gate. Opened in 1904, this uptown museum row was called Audubon Terrace.


The Hispanic Society of America, a museum with Goyas and El Grecos, moved in. So did the American Indian Museum, American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Geographical Society, and the American Numismatic Society.

Audubonrowelcid2This cultural crossroads attracted crowds, at least at first. The problem? As they say, location location location.

Upper Manhattan didn’t pan out as the well-to-do enclave developers had hoped. And it was far out of the loop of the main part of the city.

Decades passed. Three of the original tenants moved out. Only the Hispanic Society museum and the American Academy of Arts and Letters remain. Boricua College, a bilingual institution, has joined them.

Audubon Terrace today feels like a secret. The wide courtyard, ghostly equestrian statue of El Cid, and other monuments to art and culture are devoid of crowds.


The art at the Hispanic Society is fantastic (and free!). It’s an ideal place for walking and looking and dreaming.

[Photos: Second photo, 1919, MCNY; third, 1925 postcard from MCNY]

Church of the Intercession, 155th Street

June 17, 2009

Vernon Howe Bailey was a New York City artist who sketched regularly for newspapers and periodicals.

Churchoftheintercession2He also created gentle, understated sketches of city bridges, skyscrapers, street scenes, and churches on his own. This 1935 sketch depicts the Church of the Intercession at 155th Street and Broadway. 

The sketch doesn’t show adjoining Trinity Church Cemetery, an upper Manhattan treasure and one of the coolest burial grounds in the city. It’s the quiet final resting place of many prominent New Yorkers, such as Clement Clark Moore, author of “A Visit From Saint Nicholas.” 

In honor of Moore’s famous tale, Church of the Intercession holds an annual Clement Clark Moore festival at Christmastime. 

Here’s a look at the church’s colorful stained glass windows and other interior photos.