Saturday, June 02, 2012

Immaculately conceived

Albany, in addition to being the capital of New York State, is the seat of a Catholic Diocese. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is the "mother church" of that diocese. It (the church) was completed in 1852.

The cathedral's south spire with Corning Tower behind. See the flying buttresses on the nave?
That black stuff is part of the restoration project, not permanent.

When I was a kid, one of my aunts (who was Catholic, most of the family is Protestant) got married in the Cathedral. I have vague memories of the ceremony and the feeling of vastness inside the building. Our Methodist churches in the suburbs were much more modest, of course. That was the first and, until recently, the last time I was inside.

A shiny golden thing on the altar. Some kind of holy table? I dunno. Or is that the altar? I'm not catholic.

I wandered in again on my visit in 2006 just to see, but the photos I took inside didn't work out very well. So on this trip we ventured in again. With my new camera I was able to get a few good pictures of the interior. Most of the inside is tromp-l'oeil, meaning that it's not stone, but plaster painted to look like stone.

Our friends Evelyn & Lewis in one of the side aisles.

The building is just coming out of a significant restoration project that included the exterior (real) stonework and the interior decoration and lighting. I think it looks pretty good. This is the second of the three churches that we visited on this trip.

Some stained glass and sculpted stations of the cross.

That's enough of Albany for now. Tomorrow we'll head north to Montréal, where Ken and I spent the second weekend of our trip. Fear not! I'll have more Albany photos later on.

 Another shot of the cathedral and Corning Tower, just for fun.


  1. I am going to ask the same question about the origin of the stone used to build the exterior of the church as I did for the 'Hôtel de Ville'. Local or exotic?

  2. What a wonderful comparison you provide between your photos in France, and these in the encourage me to think about the differences between the "New World" and the "Old World". Thank you for this. Louise

  3. I have to agree with Louise, sometimes we don't see the beauty that surrounds us. But you have reminded me that there is plenty of it, right in our own back yard.

  4. Very, very nice. I like it muchissimo :)
    Is this the church where they were practicing for a wedding and were playing, "Here Comes the Bride" as you two walked in??

    1. Oh, wait, I looked back in Ken's archives, and found that it was the beautiful church in Montréal :)

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  6. Any recurrence of your neck pain with all the spring gardening you've been doing since your return?

  7. Do you know what the black stuff is that they ae using for restoration?

  8. chm, the original stone for the church is brownstone, most likely Hummelstown brownstone quarried in Pennsylvania. Some of that was so deteriorated that it was replaced during the restoration with St. Bees Red Sandstone, quarried in England.

    louise, I think my years in Europe changed the way I look at things. That, and the fact that I've become a tourist in my home town and see familiar things in a different way. I'm also older. ;)

    bill, aw, shucks. :)

    judy, you found the answer before I could tell you!

    dean, fortunately, no recurrences. But I'm not doing the kind of work I was doing (mainly hedge-trimming) when the pain came.

    diogenes, I think it's a temporary netting to prevent deteriorated stone from coming off the facade. The work on the south tower has not yet begun.


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