St Mark's Church in the Bowery

St Mark's Church in the Bowery (64)

First of all, you should know you're in the Bowery. Bowery is the Anglicisation of the Dutch word "bouwerij", an ancient way of referring to an ancient manor farm. And it is right here that the residence of the Dutch governor Peter Stuyvesant was located and it was obviously a country estate. 

This church is one of the oldest Catholic churches in New York and stands right where the old family Stuyvesant chapel stood. We may even consider it to be the city's oldest place of worship.

The church was built in 1799 and then added a Neo-Greek bell tower in 1828, an 1854 Italianate porch and stained glass windows in 1982. In the beginning, it was the church of the elite of the city but quickly became more popular and has developed social work and helped immigrants and other disadvantaged classes.

It was also committed to the avant-garde art, poets Amy Lowell, Yoko Ono, Patti Smith and Jim Carroll have read his poems here, because since 1966 the St Mark Poetry Project has regularly organised events. Moreover, the Danspace Project has found exceptional dancers such as Isadora Duncan and even managed to help Andy Warhol with his first films.

This church is so peculiar that it has served as a film set, for example, for the wedding in "A Beautiful Mind", a film by Ron Howard in 2001, with the famous actor Russell Crowe.

Some great personalities are buried in the cemetery in which you can visit the tomb of Peter Stuyvesant.

The truth is that this lovely church may be one of the oldest in the city, but there is nothing old here, it is a centre of art and social action.  Always open to everybody. 

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