July 1, 2012

St. Patrick's Old Cathedral gets 4-and-a-half stars on Yelp.

"How can you not give a Church 5-stars - maybe it's just the Catholic guilt in me but if you go to Church, even if only once a year, you should give it 5-stars :-)"

I never noticed Yelp had ratings on churches. Fascinating. I was Googling St. Patrick's Old Cathedral — which is in Little Italy in New York, prompting one Yelpist to say "it's funny when the patron saint of another country is in the wrong ethnic neighborhood." She gives 4-and-a-half stars, and perhaps that half-star deduction is for ethnicity mismatching.

I was Googling on the occasion of Alec Baldwin's wedding, which the Daily Mail has celebrated with an array of photographs of quite a few remarkably unattractive celebrities. Remember when "Baldwin" was slang — in that movie "Clueless" — for a really cute guy: "Okay, okay, so he is kind of a Baldwin." This is no longer apt.

A comment at the Daily Mail: "A bizarre looking lot. And why do churches allow themselves to be used as mere props for nincompoops who only regard them as a backdrop?"

I was Googling to try to get a closer look at the painting above the altar depicting Jesus floating above an open tomb. Ah, here's the lovely website for the cathedral. Here's a recent NYT article about it, noting that the area isn't so much "Little Italy" anymore:
"In recent years, the area has been transformed by the arrival of fancy boutiques, specialty shops, multi-million-dollar apartments and, from [the] perspective [of  Msgr. Donald Sakano], a new generation of souls.

“Now we are surrounded by young people,” Monsignor Sakano said. “It’s a young, vibrant, trendy area.”
Hipster souls... and flaccid celebrity souls... including Woody Allen's soul and Robert Kennedy Jr.'s soul. Souls galore. Just waiting for salvation.

Is "flaccid" the right word or does it make you think only of genitalia? The OED definition is: "Wanting in stiffness, hanging or lying loose or in wrinkles; limber, limp; flabby." That — and the following examples — makes me it is the right word:
1620   T. Venner Via Recta v. 87   The one it maketh flaccide, and the other subiect to putrefaction.
1660   R. Boyle New Exper. Physico-mechanicall iv. 46   The sides of the Bladder grew flaccid.
1705   F. Fuller Medicina Gymnastica 37   Yet are the Muscles not Flaccid, but Tense and Firm.
1751   Johnson Rambler No. 117. ⁋8   The flaccid sides of a football.
1848   Thackeray Bk. Snobs in Wks. IX. 385   His double chin over his flaccid whitey-brown shirt collar.
1848   Thackeray Vanity Fair lxi. 554   The flaccid children within.
1879   J. A. Froude C├Žsar xv. 234   His hair moist, his eyes heavy, his cheeks flaccid.
My favorite phrase there is "flaccid whitey-brown shirt collar." If only I could write more like Thackeray! There were some flaccid whitey-brown folks at the Baldwin wedding.

But the OED says "flaccid" is "Chiefly of flesh and similar structures: rarely of a person." Rarely. It was a rare occasion. A wedding. A wedding attended by many conspicuously divorced persons... including the groom... a bloated 54-year-old man, a Baldwin, marrying a 28-year-old woman named Hilaria.

In ancient Rome, Hilaria were "festivals celebrated on the vernal equinox to honor Cybele." It's a plural noun, really. Not that many names for individuals are plural, but a young woman may have many dimensions. In marrying a man, however, she is one of the two who become one.
Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.


Peter said...

Old St. Patrick's opened in 1815. That was decades before the surrounding area was Little Italy, indeed well before there were many Italian immigrants in New York.

Scott said...

In Jersey City, there is a church named after St Anthony of Padua that has a mostly Polish congregation.

It's nice to live in a metro area that has ethnic groups to celebrate.

edutcher said...
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edutcher said...

Uh, maybe St Pat's was in the right ethnic neighborhood when it was built.

Flaccid may be where you find it, but nothing may be quite as flaccid as the spectacle of these self-anointed hipsters rating things so they can fell cool about themselves.

And I never heard of "Catholic guilt" until the Lefties began their crusade against the Church 30 years ago.

Jewish guilt, maybe, but Catholics were pretty much guilt-free unless you're talking about those Midwest Catholics like Phil Donahue who wanted to blame something other than the crushing weight of all that Lefty-induced white guilt for all their neuroses.

Peter said...

maybe St Pat's was in the right ethnic neighborhood when it was built

Back in the early 1800's that part of Manhattan was very sparsely populated. Most of the people in the area were farmers.

bagoh20 said...

I can see a trailer park from Tina Fey's dress. There, I feel better.

But it's also true.

Paddy O said...

Hipster Souls... I think I may have found the title for my next, or rather first, bestselling book.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the spiritual deficiencies of irony.

Ann Althouse said...

I like the way Tina Fey's husband is standing on his tippy toes and is still 4 inches shorter than she is.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

'And I never heard of "Catholic guilt"'

Not to be picky or anything, edutcher, but let's consider St. Augustine. He was a Roman lawyer before he converted. He wrote an autobiography called Confessions. In it, if I recall commentary correctly, he takes up the theme of sin being adultery in place of the proper love of God. Now as a Christian, he embraced the dogma of Christ having died for your sins and in case you don't have any convenient, edutcher, you have 'original sin' inherited from Adam as the Saint emphasized. Roman lawyers may be a lot of things but one thing they are apparently particularly careful not to be is illogical in their arguments. Moreover the first prayer of the Mass in Old St. pat's, new St. pat's or anywhere else is the following:

Brethren (brothers and sisters), let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
(A brief pause for silence follows. Then all recite together the formula of general confession:)
I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,
(And, striking their breast, they say:)
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;
(Then they continue:)
therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.
(The absolution by the Priest follows:)
May almighty God have mercy on us,
forgive us our sins,
and bring us to everlasting life.
(The people reply:)

ndspinelli said...

The photo of the groom's daughter checking w/ the caterer is funny. "Just make sure there's plenty of booze and Cheetos..this is an Irish wedding!"

ndspinelli said...

Fey is also on her toes..it's family ballbusting.

And the caption writer calls Lorne Michaels an anonymous "guest".

edutcher said...

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

And I never heard of "Catholic guilt"

Not to be picky or anything, edutcher, but let's consider St. Augustine.

I think the Yelpist and myself were both referring to modern times, like maybe post-Renaissance.

Lem said...

Alec Baldwin plays pretend for a living.. add to that mix what I'm grudgingly learning from Roberts.. and

Anonymous said...

"including the groom... a bloated 54-year-old man, a Baldwin"

Did you mean the formerly-bloated 54 year-old man? The groom lost a lot of weight for this wedding.

caplight45 said...

Paddy O is gonna write a book on "hipster souls". I want to be interviewed for the book. Please. I'll even wear a fake gray pony tail and sandals.I think Ann should write a blurb for the back cover. No, she should write the forward. Who of us could write book blurbs?

Andy? Nah, we want people to read it. Bagho definitely. Paddy could devote a whole chapter to Crack. Powerful. A Spinelli blurb could bring in the whole Dago Catholic demographic.

Who else?

William said...

One thinks of McLuhan's remark about the obsolete becoming an art form. Little Italy has become an art form of a neighborhood. The Italians have moved out to Staten Island, but their restaurants remain. There are still immigrants in the neighborhood, but they're Chinese. There's all those Italian tricolor banners fluttering on Mulberry Street, but it's not an Italian neighborhood anymore. It's an artist's rendition of an Italian neighborhood.....So with Alec Baldwin's marriage. It's not really a marriage. It's a clever fascimile of a wedding, complete with rituals and festivities. But the true formal joining of two parties takes place in the lawyers' office when they sign the prenuptials.

Erika said...

Goodness, all those bare shoulders, strapless dresses and short skirts in church. I think those people look ridiculous. And it just looks so visually silly for a man old enough to be welcoming grandchildren to marry a nubile young thing like that. Yikes.

rcocean said...

Good to know what the Hollytrash are up to. The Woodman looks pretty good for 77, other than a more lines and the grey hair he hasn't aged much in 20 years.

Patrick Molloy said...

The church appears in the Godfather movies, also Mean Streets.

Bender said...
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Bender said...

He was a Roman lawyer

No. No he wasn't. Augustine was a student and teacher of rhetoric.

Moreover the first prayer of the Mass in Old St. pat's, new St. pat's or anywhere else is the [confiteor].

Again, to correct the record, the first prayer of any Mass is the Sign of the Cross -- "In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen."

ndspinelli said...

Bender, My daughter was raised Presbyterian. We go to a lot of MLB games. When she was ~5 she asked me why the Latin players "do that criss crossy thing when they come up to bat?" She was fascinated to learn it was religious.

kentuckyliz said...

St. Stanislaus Kostka in Chicago has Polish words carved in the stone, and it's primarily a Mexican neighborhood now.

The church has the iconic monstrance of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is amazingly beautiful and takes up the whole sanctuary.

Major hat tip to the Guadalupanas.

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

I lived a few blocks north and a bit west of that area a couple of decades ago.

Back then, many of the news stories dealing with John Gotti or the Gambino mafia family would mention that their headquarters was the Ravenite Social Club on Mulberry Street. Since I lived pretty close, one day I decided to go see what this social club looked like from the sidewalk. Nothing flashy at all. Very unimpressive.

But the thought did occur to me that inside that non-descript building mobsters often met to plan to engage in all sorts of sins -- and how convenient it was to have a Catholic cathedral just down the street where sinners can go to seek absolution for their sins.

ricpic said...

When Baldwin walked around with a sheet over his head he was admitting something he'd never admit in words. I actually liked the guy at that moment.

Kevin Walsh said...

It's on this page


Crunchy Frog said...

Went to the newest local megachurch for a concert in February. Interesting place - stadium seating, with cupholders.

That's right, cupholders. You want five stars? Gimme my damn cupholders.