Enter one of Manhattan's earliest Fifth Avenue churches, a Victorian Gothic masterwork from New York's Gilded Age. One of just a handful of New York buildings by the German architect Carl Pfeiffer (1834-1888), the church includes some rare innovations of the period, such as a 19th-century "air conditioning" system and a pendulum-based clockworks that has been in continual use since 1875. The Sanctuary rises six stories, enclosing a massive organ case, stained glass windows (including a beautiful Rose Window facing the avenue) and original, handcarved woodwork throughout. A historical exhibit of the congregation's 206-year history in Manhattan is on view in the Gallery. The church also includes the acoustically rich Kirkland Chapel (1925) by New York architect James Gamble Rogers (1867-1947) in a Collegiate Gothic style.
The main Sanctuary offers a marked architectural contrast to the Chapel. The Sanctuary contains no right angles, with the curvature of the balcony and pews drawing all eyes and ears to the pulpit at center. The Chapel, crafted more of stone than of wood, is a sharply rectangular space from end to end. And while the Sanctuary is devoid of iconography, the Chapel's stained glass windows depict the gospel writers and apostles above the altar, and Christ surrounded by a host of archangels in the rear balcony. The glorious balcony window was fully restored in 2011.
Sat - Organ tours at 11am & 1pm; Gather in the choir loft to see and experience (maybe even try your hand at playing!) the magnificent Austin sanctuary organ. For most of its history, the organ was the most complex man-made device in existence. Learn the inner workings and history of what Mozart called "the King of Instruments." Guide Dr. Ryan W. Jackson, DMA, has served as the William S. Perper Director of Music & Fine Arts Ministries since 2012. He holds a master of music degree in organ performance from Yale University and a doctor of musical arts from The Juilliard School. Please note that this tour requires climbing stairs.
Sun - Organ tour at 1:30pm.