simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: Nativity
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Thursday, 20 December 2007


It is amazing how inured we can become of things with constant exposure - like a beautiful vista seen daily. If someone had asked the existence or whereabouts of a nativity scene in NYC, I'm not sure if I would remembered this one, yet it is essentially a city block long on one of the busiest streets in Manhattan - Houston Street, a veritable crosstown highway, the dividing line between the Village and SoHo. It is not a street typically used by pedestrians for strolling - although there are retailers (like Rafetto's), the street does not have the ambiance of the surrounding smaller streets.Not to mention I cross this street daily and have done eight postings on subjects found on it. The photo shows the life size nativity which is erected annually by St. Anthony's church - officially the Church of St. Anthony of Padua at 154 Sullivan Street. The Roman Catholic Shrine church was built in 1866. It is staffed by the Franciscan Friars and is the oldest existing parish founded for ministry to Italian immigrants in the United States. In the 1930s, Houston Street was widened for the construction of the subway. Tenement buildings on abutting the north side of the church were demolished, leaving a narrow space between the church's north wall and Houston Street, where the Nativity scene is installed.

Interesting note: Convicted Mafia mobster, Vincent "The Chin" Gigante, was a habitue of Greenwich Village. He died December 19, 2005 - his funeral was held at St. Anthony's church.


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