Sunday, February 1, 2009

Not Quite Harlem, But...

My church of the day (and sorry it's so late) is actually in Washington Heights, not Harlem, but I really love it. It opened in 1930 as the Loew's 175th Street Palace Theater, for movies and vaudeville. I was trying to think of the architectural style, so I looked on Wikipedia, which says that this building has been called both "Cambodian Neo-Classical" and "Byzantine-Romanesque-Indo-Hindu-Sino- Moorish-Persian-Eclectic-Rococo-Deco" !!! It is humongous, and apparently very ornate on the inside as well, which to me is a reflection and culmination of the roaring, extravagant 1920s. In the 1960s the theater was saved from demolition by becoming the Christ United Church, run by the famous Reverend Ike, who apparently dresses in furs and bling and drives Rolls-Royces. All I know is that the building is amazing looking, and has a sign on the outside that says something like "Come on in, or smile as you pass." And they still host performances by music groups and orchestras, to pay the bills, no doubt. I'll have to go take a look at the inside of it one of these days.


tkangaroo said...

Gorgeous. I love all architecture from that time period. It is exquisite!

Kent Larsen said...

I hope you don't mind if I point out one amusing aspect of this church -- the words on its marquee. I've lived in this neighborhood for more than 20 years, and they've never changed. They read:

"Come on in, or smile as you pass."

Beyond a church, the building also is a significant cultural center for the area's spanish-speaking community, regularly hosting music groups and similar events.