The biggest mosaic of all

New York City: Church of Francis Of Assisi

When I decided to walk from the 34th Street Station to the Madison Square Park I had not yet realized how low the charge on my camera was. I hurried down 31st street towards Broadway. This is not a part of New York with a lot of art work on the streets, so I had no intentions of stopping. But I was brought to a halt by a marvellous mosaic on a church. You can see this in the featured photo.

From the brown robes of the saint, I guessed this must be Francis of Assisi, and the church probably belonged to Franciscans. That turned out to be right, this is called the Church of St. Francis of Assisi. I thought that the Gothic Revival style would make this a contemporary of the Fort district of Mumbai, probably the end of the 19th century. It would have been far outside the boundaries of Manhattan when it was built. This guess was correct; Wikipedia tells a story of a religious dispute that preceded it. Should I cross the street and go in? The time and the charge on my camera forced me on.

This was a wrong decision. I missed one of the major pieces of art in New York. Inside this church is one of the largest mosaics in the US, a work by Austrian artist Rudolph Margreiter showing Mary standing on a globe of the earth. It was installed in 1928, two years before the mosaic outside which I’d paused to admire. Cities are large, you can’t hope to see it all in one day’s walk.

By I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.

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