I skipped a day in this blog because I was out on a little fotograffic expedition and didn't have time for both taking pix and showing pix here. So I'll show twice as many fotos today to make up for playing hooky well, going on a field trip yesterday.
I had long heard about Saint Lucy's Roman Catholic Church as a center of the old Italian community of the North Ward, but had never been there until yesterday. I chanced across its location on the .PDF map of the central business district that I long ago downloaded from GoNewark.com, so hunted it down late yesterday afternoon and was amazed.
The church stands in a parklike setting that includes a bunch of statues, plaques of the Stations of the Cross on the enclosing fence, and the National Shrine of Saint Gerard, who turns out, oddly, to be the patron saint of expectant mothers. A man. Hm.
The webmaster of the Newarkology website advises me that the new housing complex that adjoins St. Lucy's to the east, ending at MLK Boulevard, replaced a notorious public housing complex, the Christopher Columbus Homes, that the City had to demolish. The townhouses (and apartments?) that have replaced that slum are beautiful, and St. Lucy's now faces a much improved neighborhood. I showed fotos of the MLK frontage of that complex on April 14th, and Mies van der Rohe's Pavilion Apartments across the street from it on April 11th. You can see one of the Mies buildings in this foto.
St. Lucy's is also just down the hill, on 7th Avenue, from Mies's other Newark building, the Colonnade Apartments, so it is in effect bracketed by buildings designed by one of the great architects of the world. For its part, St. Lucy's is on the National Register of Historic Places. (Note the reflections, not just the text.)
The open area around St. Lucy's is a memorial park, filled with dedications to friends and relatives who are no longer with us.
Tomorrow I'll put up a few pix of some of the details of this extraordinary church. I went inside but there was a (poorly-attended) service going on at the time, so I couldn't take any pictures. It's a "Romanesque Revival" interior with stained-glass windows very different from those of Sacred Heart, and murals in its arched spaces. I will eventually get in to take pictures, but I have some exterior detail shots to show tomorrow.
For those of you in the Newark Diaspora all over the country who have fond memories of St. Lucy's, I hope this gives a bit more incentive to get to the Branch Brook Park Cherry Blossom Festival in the same general area before it ends this coming Sunday.
Let me close today's blog entry with a view of the church thru the colonnade of the Shrine of Saint Gerard.
If you can't make it to the Cherry Blossom Festival, perhaps you'll want to take a walking tour that the webmaster of the Newarkology site will be guiding in May. I hope to go myself. If you attend, say hi.