Grace Church Episcopal, New York City, 2021
The apse of New York’s Grace Church peaks through a gap in the complex’s other buildings on 4th Avenue. The rusty lamps caught my eye — the sign of some ancient pieces of infrastructure, 1940s uplighting perhaps, long abandoned in place. This sort of forgotten hardware speaks of a building’s age — of how it was already old when it underwent modernization, and that modernization is now itself aged enough to be a historic relic. Ornamental stone and stained glass will eventually be cleaned and restored to like new. Practical additions like these, however, will eventually be removed. They carry the weight of history through their state of deterioration, the obsolescence they have acquired over time, and in this way might be more alive with age than the timeless Gothic finials and pointed arches.