And the chapel bells were ringing

Walking along 8th Avenue in midtown Manhattan, I was stopped in my tracks by the sound of church bells ringing. They were perfectly chiming out the tune “There’s no business like show business”. Gosh, isn’t New York wonderful? Following the sound of the pealing bells, I turned on 49th Street and found St. Malachy’s – otherwise known as The Actor’s Chapel. If it hadn’t been for the bells, I would never have known it was there. It is an unimposing little chapel, dwarfed by surrounding skyscrapers.

Inside, it retains its modest demeanour. It is ornate, but not too ornate. There’s lots of wood, which lends an inviting warmth to it, when compared to the cold stone floors of the churches, chapels and cathedrals I have visited in Europe.

The ceilings are vaulted, but there are places where the roof is lowered – almost Frank Lloyd Wright-esque in its design. There are little alcoves with ceilings of the darkest blue peppered with white stars, which put you in mind of the theatrical heavens of Shakespeare’s day .

Starry heavens

The proportions create an entirely human space, which to me is quite unusual, and wonderfully refreshing, in a place of worship. All too often, places of worship are built, purposefully, on a scale that inspires awe and diminishes the human. How wonderfully appropriate that The Actor’s Chapel should instead be housed in a space that encourages and embraces humanity. Here are a few more pictures of this lovely space.

The  saints featured in the chapel cater to all walks of the arts.

St. Vitus - for dancers

St Cecilia - for musicians

Fra Angelico - for artists

Blessed Dina - do musicians need extra help?

St Genesius - for actors

And last, but not least:

St Jude Thaddeus, Patron Saint of Lost Causes - for X Factor contestants

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About ailsapm

Hi there! I’m Ailsa Prideaux-Mooney. I’ve lived in many places, and travelled to many more. I had a lot of fun getting there and being there, wherever there happened to be at the time. I climbed a castle wall in Czesky Krumlov, abseiled down cliffs to go caving in the west of Ireland, slept on the beach in Paros, got chased by a swarm of bees in Vourvourou (ok that wasn’t fun, but it was exciting), learned flower arranging in Tokyo, found myself in the middle of a riot in Seoul, learned to snowboard in Salzburg, got lost in a labyrinth in Budapest and had my ice cream stolen by a gull in Cornwall. And I’m just getting started. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, I’d love you to follow my travelogue - wheresmybackpack.com - and remember, anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all.
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2 Responses to And the chapel bells were ringing

  1. Discovered a hidden jewel here

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