From Abyssinian To Zion: Photographs Of Manhattan's Houses Of Worship By David Dunlap

June 22, 2004
October 24, 2004

This exhibition is based on David Dunlap's eponymous guide to 1,079 houses of worship, (Columbia University Press, 2004). From Abyssinian to Zion features sanctuaries off the beaten path that would count as major attractions in any other city or setting: St. Aloysius Church, a bristling work of Lombard architecture on West 132nd Street; All Saints Church, a virtual cathedral known with good reason as the St. Patrick's of Harlem (it is arguably a more inventive work of Gothic design); the Church of the Crucifixion, a powerful work of modern concrete sculpture on West 149th Street that evokes Le Corbusier; the elegantly neo-Classical Mount Olivet Baptist Church on Malcolm X Boulevard, built as Temple Israel, which used it as a synagogue for only 13 years; St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral, under whose onion domes on East 97th Street bitter and sometimes violent battles have been waged for the soul of the Russian church since the Revolution; the abandoned Pike Street shul where the Young Israel movement was born, now serving as the Sung Tak Buddhist temple; St. Augustine's Church on Henry Street, which has what it says is the only remaining slave gallery of any church on the island; and the greatest single house of worship built in Manhattan in the last 60 years: the mosque of the Islamic Cultural Center.

The exhibition will also highlight images from the Historical Society's own collection, especially the marvelous and little-known portfolio of 889 photographs taken from 1966 to 1973 by Herman N. Liberman Jr., a member of the New York Stock Exchange, who walked 502 miles in a serpentine pattern along every street in Manhattan, from river to river, recording every single house of worship then in existence, including the most modest storefront and parlorfront churches and synagogues.p>

David Dunlap, a senior writer at The New York Times, is the photographer and co-author with Joseph J. Vecchione of Glory in Gotham (City & Company, 2001), the photographer and author of On Broadway: A Journey Uptown Over Time (Rizzoli International, 1990) and the photographer of The City Observed: New York by Paul Goldberger (Random House, 1979).

Creative: Tronvig Group