[That title conjures, for me, boxer Roberto Durán's plea during his last big fite, "¡No más!" Maybe that's just me.]
I neglected to mention, as followup to my entry last Sunday, that I ended up not going to midnite mass. Gaetano felt a little silly for forgetting that of course he couldn't go to midnite mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart (nite views of which I use here today) in Newark because he had a big family thing down at the Shore set for Christmas Eve. (My immediate family is scattered, to Texas, Nevada, and California, and I do not care to leave my little kitties for several days to venture afar.) I decided I didn't want to go to midnite mass alone. (All my best friends are Catholic, and most are Italian. I don't know how that happened, given the diversity of the New York Tristate Metropolitan Area, tho NJ and NYC are both very Italian. However it happened, it happened. And I'm content with that. They are more Catholic than I, but I may know more Italian than they do!) Next year I'll start planning earlier, so will be better prepared psychologically to get myself to the Cathedral (Basilica), whether anyone I know goes too or not.
On Christmas day itself, I decided to take a drive. (In ye olden days my family used to pile into the car and go for rides. Does anybody still do that? or has traffic become so oppressive that no one willingly goes out into it for recreation?) First, I headed to Washington Park to take pix of what I think is the newly-floodlited façade of 15 Washington Street, the distinctive skyscraper that used to serve as Rutgers' law school and is supposed to be reworked into apartments for married students. I'll show some of those pix some other time.
After I finished at Washington Park, I wanted to see if Sacred Heart had a lited crèche I could fotograf at nite. But in any case, I wanted to get a nite picture of the Cathedral Basilica to balance the day picture in the slideshow at my TourismNewark.org website-in-the-making, so set up my tripod and took some pix. Inasmuch as this is "Church Sunday" here at Newark USA, I am showing some of those now, even tho I showed pix of the same great church last Sunday. At this time of year, the greatest of Newark's churches must have pride of place, as we at once fill out the Christmas season (to Twelfth Nite and the celebration of the Three Kings that is important in Newark's Hispanic community) and look back on the year just past, mull earlier times, and look forward to better times ahead. The foto below is an overview of the Cathedral, pair to the daytime view shown in the slideshow. Alas, the dimmer parts of the building appear to be brownish. They are actually pure gray, but I could not figure a way to cause my graphics program to show them as gray. (I'm not saying there is no way, only that it may take a very long time to master all the features of any sophisticated graphics program.)
There were three teenage boys riding on tiny bicycles in front of the Basilica. (Is that a Newark thing, or do big kids ride on small-kid bikes elsewhere too?) Two of them appear, if less than clearly, in the foto above. One is a dark blur at the bottom of the foto, left of center; the other, who was wearing a lite-colored hoody, is the white object almost exactly center. This next picture is a nite view of one of the pictures shown last Sunday.
I thought that if they asked about the pix I was taking, I'd tell them about my fotoblog, hand them my card, and ask if they'd like to be shown riding their bikes with the lited cathedral as backdrop. I could stop-action with flash. But they didn't ask, and I don't push. I did ask one if there were a crèche ("nativity scene", I think I actually said) on the grounds and was told no. I didn't see any in front or on either side of the Cathedral, and did not wander all the way to the back in the cold, but merely accepted that there was none. You'd think the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart would have a grand, artistic crèche on the east side of the building (along Clifton Avenue) for all to see, as brilliantly lited at nite as the Cathedral building itself. But they didn't. Here's a side view of the west tower. The towers are tilted 45 degrees off flush with the façade.
Here's a close view of the main portal to the Basilica. Alas, the camera seems to have automatically shut out a lot of lite, because the Cathedral's stone in all these pix should be dazzlingly white. It's really gray, in sunlite, but in the blaze of the floodlites, it is stunningly, brilliantly white. "You had to be there", truly.
I couldn't even briten these fotos in my graphics program without distorting the color and losing detail. Cameras just see things differently from people. To be on that plaza close to the façade when the floodlites are on is to be surrounded by lite and overwhelmed by the beauty of the stone tracery and the magnificence of the building. If you've never seen it in person, you owe it to yourself next time you are in Newark at nite to get there to experience it for yourself. But the lites may go off around 2am. (The blur in the bottom middle of the picture below is one of the kids on bikes.)
As we enter a year in which Newark seems poised to attract big-money developers, let me offer this advice to people planning to build large, permanent structures:
Think. Will anyone 53 years after your building is completed want to take fotos of your building, nite and day, to share with the world? Will anyone list your building among the great architectural achievements of Newark? New Jersey? the United States? the human race? Think big. Don't just spend big and build big. If you are, 100 years from now, remembered for anything, will it be for the building you planned 100 years earlier? If it's still standing, will people pass it by without notice, or point it out? And if they do point it out, will it be as a cautionary tale about the mistakes people can make in littering the visual landscape with architectural crap, or to honor someone who understood that what has to be seen should be worth seeing?
To celebrate the American Institute of Architects' 150th anniversary, the NJ Chapter released this past September a list of New Jersey's best 150 buildings/places. 14 of them are in Newark, and only one cathedral, our Cathedral Basilica, is among the 150.
If you like these pictures, consider this my belated Christmas card to you and yours.