Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Mythical building

Gothically reverent
New York, N
Y, November 2009
About this photo: Thematic Photographic celebrates building week. If a structure has moved you in any way, please click here to share the experience.
We had come here to celebrate our cousin's wedding. As always seems to happen in life, though, the journey was so much richer than we originally thought it would be. The building saw to that.

This place, the Angel Orensanz Center, was built in 1849 as a synagogue. And although it now functions as the home of the foundation of the Spanish artist's foundation, it is often rented out for events like parties and weddings.

Sex and the City trivia watchers would probably be tickled to know that Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick were married here, but what really gets at you as you walk slowly through this living example of your history is the way past generations seem to echo around every turn. Look up and there's a carved-in-ornate-stone list of members from before your grandfather's time. Look to the side and there's an artistic flourish that wouldn't be out of place in a museum.

Indeed, this is a museum. One that's stunningly different - gothic style synagogues are understandably rare - and incredibly familiar all at the same time. I couldn't stop comparing it to every other synagogue I had ever visited, my mind racing to process the rich memories this place had uncovered. I thought about the community that built it, and wondered what it must have been like back then to walk into the sanctuary.

Today, I do much the same thing in a much newer building a world removed from this place. But is that feeling of reconnecting any different despite the passage of time? Something to ponder as I continue to attend shul before the sun rises.

More than a few times that night, I thought my father would have enjoyed this place, and quietly hoped he had at least had a chance to look it up online before he passed away. He appreciated the significance of places like this. Now, so do I.

Your turn: Buildings that connect us - and to us. Please discuss.


invisible said...

Is there supposed to be such a thing as a Rock 'N Roll Synagogue?
I sure hope so 'cause this qualifies. Would the Rabbi be offended if you told him " This place ROCKS dude!"?
I love the craftsmanship that went in all these old buildings.

LZ Blogger said...

Carmi ~ Yes I do have one... in fact, perhaps I'll make that my NEXT post! ~ jb///

tiff said...

National Cathedral - are really any grand building erected solely to glorify God. Truthfully, one of the most faithful things people can do! Plus which, they're usually full of really cool nooks and crannies.

Cloudia said...

Carmi, Next time you are in shul please "say a barucha" for me, friend.

Aloha, Friend!

Comfort Spiral

Mojo said...

That opening shot looks straight out of The Wizard of Oz. Or maybe it's just that Mama Zen was talking abotu the Wizard of Oz/Dark Side of the Moon connection this morning.

I marvel at old Gothic style buildings like this one, or like Duke Chapel (featured a couple of days ago). I tend to find my "connections" in simpler places though.

I don't so much feel a connection to the building in my "Buildings" finale itself, but I never cease to be amazed at the connection I feel to the town it's in -- despite the fact that I've only been there once.

Incidentally, I wanted to invite you and your following to a party going on at Casa Mojo today. Actually, there are two parties going on over there today. (Tonka's been busy!)

awareness said...

What a stunningly beautiful synagogue now centre. I want to stand inside its mysteries. We're hoping to head to NYC in the spring..... I will add it to my list to go see.

kenju said...

It is beautiful. I love Gothic architecture; I attended a Gothic church when I was young. It says church to me, like none other.