Thursday, March 5, 2009

Looking at the Sky on Friday: A Church Grows In Brooklyn

One of Brooklyn's many (and most polite) nicknames is "The City of Churches" - Brooklyn acquired this name in the mid 19th century because it was home to over 70 Christian churches. These are 3 of my favorites.

This is St. Ephrem's Church in Bay Ridge - every year this church is home to the "blessing of the beasts" - people from all over the neighborhood line up to have their pets blessed. I used to go and watch - my favorite memories are the police dogs and horses lined up right there in front. Since the horses couldn't go inside the priests would come to them. It was also especially touching to see little children clutching hamster cages and fish bowls. Of course there were always lots of dogs. One of the priests told me that cats were the most difficult to bless - what a surprise!

The Dutch Reform Church holds a special memory for me. Between the main building and the smaller building with the rounded steeple there is a small bench. Nana loved to sit there. When it became hard for her to walk alone I would take her and we would sit there together and talk about absolutely everything. She would save bread crusts to feed the squirrels and birds and she would often speak to them in Yiddish.

This Lutheran Church sits at an incredibly busy intersection famous for accidents. It is virtually impossible to make a left turn at this intersection. The street curves and 2 lanes turn into one going east/west while 4 lanes all try to beat the light going north/south. Whenever there is a wedding or funeral there is total chaos. I imagine there are many wedding videos with car horns blasting and colorful language as the soundtrack.

I posted the steeple from this church a few Fridays ago.

I've been finding it difficult to keep up with all the photo projects lately so I'm going to alternate them. Rather than looking for and planning photos for a specific meme I'm going to go back to taking photos of anything and everything and then posting when a good one fits a specific meme. It is far more enjoyable that way and well - isn't that the point? Plus with more time between posts I can actually visit all the participants. I always try to do that and I was starting to find that to be difficult as well.

Happy Friday Everyone - please do visit Tisha's site for more LOOKING AT THE SKY ON FRIDAY


Your EG Tour Guide said...

Nice photos. I especially enjoyed your commentary, the most touching about you and your Nana.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you..I have trouble keeping up...Love this post...

Amazing Gracie said...

Beautiful churches! I'm partial to the second one, as it's a kissin' cousin to my faith1
I relate to your loving story of your nana. Thanks for that.

Tricia said...

Great photos and the stories that accompany them make them even more special. What a lovely memory to have of your Nana.

Tabbikat's Thoughts

Ralph said...

I really like the Dutch Reformed Church, it seems to have that olde European look, and as stern and austere Dutch feel. Dark looking but fascinating. The other churches are stylish, but lighter (looking and feeling) than the Reform church. It's nice that the Brooklyn Bridge opened up this borough to our eyes!

bobbie said...

three great choices. I agree with Ralph. the Dutch Reformed is special.

I also agree with your decision to alternate. It gets to be a bit much, trying to keep up. It's really impossible to comment on all, at least for me. I try to alternate them, too.

Dianne said...

EG - thanks for telling me that, I hesitate sharing stories on photo posts - I feel as though I'm getting long winded and people really just want to see some photos - buy hey! I gotta be me ;)

rambling - glad you love the churches, thanks
I'd rather do less the right way than more in a sloppy way :)

gracie - I'm partial to the Dutch Reform church as well. It was a focal point thru-out my childhood. It can be seen from the EL train and when I was a kid I used to look out the train window for it and then start yelling - "next stop, next stop!"

tricia - thank you :)
everything Nana did is a good memory, she was like that

ralph - she is a beautiful church - and the grounds are wonderful too - immaculate within old iron fences with bird feeders in all the old old trees and stone benches - there is a tiny cemetery way in the back - and on all the religious holidays there are banners or some kind of home made display

bobbie - I plan to go back there and get shots of the grounds and maybe/hopefully the interior -

Cherie said...

I like your churches. And I always love a church where you can sit in front and feed the birds.

And I totally understand the whole picture project thing. It's no fun once it becomes like a job. So, have fun with your camera and go wild. I can't wait to see what you come up with. :)

Cathy said...

lovely--especially like the second one.

maryt/theteach said...

Dianne, you make me want to go and visit all these churches... I probably will. Did you see my post of my nephew's parish church in Brooklyn? Here's the link: Mary Tomaselli's Photos :)

Sue said...

Great pictures & facts about the different churches. I love the first one, where they bless animals. I never heard of that before. The sky is so blue in the last photo. Very nice. :)

Linda said...

This post reminds me of some that myself and Patti of Late Bloomer Boomer did awhile back that we called "Steeple Chasing". There are just so many interesting churches in neighborhoods and they make for some great pictures. Of course, with over 70 of them in Brooklyn, you'd be chasing steeples for a very, very long time!

What's best about these pictures is that you had a story to go along with each of them that gave the church even more personality. Very cool!

Mo said...

Beautiful photos, and a wonderful post; Thanks for sharin', and have a fabulous weekend ahead!

Jim said...

I like your church (with steeples) pictures. We have a church in Galveston I think that blesses the pets.
They used to bless the shrimping fleet but the shrimpers have gone out of business. Hurricane Ike was hard on the shrimp population and the foreign frozen shrimp packers have undercut them by a lot in prices.

I like the shot with the more sky the best, that's why I put it on top. That church has a Black congregation, it was started in 1867. Thanks for looking and for you nice comment.
BTW, I abondoned Skywatch as I couldn't keep up with all the visitors there. Sky Looking is much calmer.

Dianne said...

cherie - it's so good that you're feeling better and that you're around more - meant to tell you that 2 posts ago :)

cathy - I think that church is everyone's favorite :)

mary - I would go Brooklyn church hopping with you!! we should plan something for the spring

sue - they bless the animals as part of St. Francis' feast day. He was the saint who loved what he called his "brother and sister animal creatures" - his feast day is October 4 - hopefully I'll get some photos this year

linda - I loved the steeple series!! hope it's continued
and I'm so glad you liked my stories, thanks
love your photo

Dianne said...

mo - thanks!! glad you enjoyed
you have a great weekend too :)

jim - I think any church that celebrates St. Francis' feast day does the animal blessing, some are more ladi back than others - of course Brooklyn does everything big lol
plus it's so populated that the cermony draws a big crowd
shame about the shrimp business - shame about so many crafts and trades -
I like calmer too :)

Tink *~*~* said...

I was born in Brooklyn but shhhh, don't tell - I was baptized at a church in Queens! *GASP*


Tink *~*~*
NOW PLAYING at My Mobile Adventures *~*~* :
Sanibel Skies Over Fragile Marine Ecosystems

Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

I love the stories behind the pictures.
Very fond memories for you. Lisa

Anna said...

I enjoyed seeing and hearing about the churches in your post. I love the story of your Nana feeding the birds and squirrels and speaking to them in Yiddish.

Kay Dennison said...

Lovely churches!!!! My church is the first Catholic church in our county and the oldest Catholic parish in NE Ohio (1823). It's a huge Gothic pile that I simply love. And when I hear the bells I think of Quasimodo. :)

storyteller said...

Great post with interesting info too. I know what you mean about trying to keep up ... it's pretty challenging for me at the moment too.
Hugs and blessings,

Jackie said...

I love this post. It reminds me of the only St Francis Day service I ever went to. Harry Potter the rabbit was fine till he got blessed, then he spent the rest of the service freaking out and ripping up the newspaper lining his carry-cage! I don't think the priest was quite expecting that!

A couple of little kids brought their stuffed toy pets and they got blessed too. That was cute :)

Tina said...

i really like church scenic pictures. there is one by bretts work which i always try and capture with no luck! its by a main road with lots of traffic :(

Cloudia said...

Lovely post.
Lovely Nana...

Mojo said...

Wait a minute. You're telling me I could get Tonka blessed by a priest?

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