NYC Day 1: Pastrami

I feel about 75% better today after sleeping for about 10 hours.  Half of me is still in Japan (adjusting ad orientem is hard for me while going west isn’t that bad) and the other half is worn out from the roller coaster of the last horrid week.

We had a lovely Mass last night, Solemn with Deacon and ‘Subdeacon’, glorious music.  I talked about the Sacred Heart as a model for dealing with other people, especially fallen away Catholics, and asking help of your Guardian Angels when you have conflict or need help in finding the right path with them.

No hurricane today.  I think it’s heading in the other direction.

When one visits New York one goes for pastrami at Pastrami Queen.  Lunch was a warming matzoh ball soup and half a sandwich.

Off to the Met.  The place is jammed, but I wanted to see at least a few of my favorites in the John Singer Sargent exhibit, in its last days.

Coat check… which I almost never do.  The galleries are full and it is warm.

In the exhibit I could hear “There’s ‘Madame X’!” around me from a remarkable selection of people.

No Christological Goldfinches in sight.

In the connecting corridor there are frequently changing exhibits, usually of prints, sketches and the like.  Here is one by GB Castiglione (+1664) of The Discovery of the Bodies of Saints Peter and Paul.  An etching.

There some influence of Rembrandt and his shadowy style.  Note how the figures clutch at each other in awe.  Paul is headless while Peter still holds his keys.

Manet, the wild child of his day, gave us this Dead Christ with Angels from 1864.

He made the mistake of putting the wound in His side on the wrong side.  Baudelaire remarked that he gave the Salon critics yet another thing to scoff at.   Critics hated the  realism of the dead Body.  But they seem to have hated everything those days that didn’t idealize.

On the way downtown to meet someone for supper, we stopped in briefly at St. Jean Baptiste.

This place was known for its Eucharistic Adoration.  But it has now a pale shade of its former practice.

Look at that monstrance and imagine….


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. acardnal says:

    How was that pastrami? Doesn’t appear too juicy.

  2. Mike says:

    Thanks for the art narratives, Father. Because of them I’m always looking at hands and feet in paintings now!

  3. DetJohn says:

    New York pastrami sandwiches are good. For my taste buds, there is nothing better than a Pastrami Dip on a French Roll at one of the Southern California Hamburger Stands. I have had them from most places. For me the best is at J.B. in La Puente, Ca.

  4. my kidz mom says:

    Beautiful church Father. Which one is it?

  5. edm says:

    That would be St Jean Baptiste on the Upper East Side. Beautiful building. The huge permanent monstrance is due to the fact that the parish is staffed by SSSs (Blessed Sacrament Fathers). Although they do have frequent exposition ( I think daily), I have not seen it in use. I have only seen a very simple monstrance on the free-standing altar. I do not know when it is used.

  6. fishonthehill says:

    St Jean Baptiste a sure jewel in Manhattan! If you have the chance… St. Vincent Ferrer another jem is walking distance, be sure to check it out especially the micro-mosaics in the tabernacle (just tell the security guard your a priest before going into the Sanctuary), the friars chapel with screens on the sides of the Altar and on the left side the altar of Saint Dominic, with a unique repository like tomb for the BS for Holy Saturday. Also Aristotle in the Stain glass windows in the right nave (very high up) and finally the Baptistry , great place for any Catholics touring NYC.

  7. Oddly enough, I did not recognize St. Jean Baptiste because I never see it from the opposite side of the street! I often stop to get a bulletin from there as I am walking from St. Vincent Ferrer to a client on E 86 St, but I never get to go to Mass there because the 7:30 AM daily Mass is usually too early for a commuter from the suburbs.

  8. DonL says:

    This one time art teacher finds it interesting the degree to which Manet chose to minimize Christ’s head in comparison to the others.

  9. LarryW2LJ says:

    “Critics hated the realism of the dead Body. But they seem to have hated everything those days that didn’t idealize. ”

    Seems like not much has changed.

  10. Markus says:

    I was given a crucifix, from a rectory that was being remodeled, and it had Christ’s wound over the heart. It was made in France (Bishop Lamy era) and was over 125 years old. About 10 years ago, I had to research different Corpus poses as I was commissioned to do a life sized carving. It appeared to me that most from France (and some from Germany) had the wound on the “wrong” side over the heart. After researching, I could never find out why. It could be some kind of “code” or just laziness through copying previous works. Could be an interesting research project…

  11. The Masked Chicken says:

    As Scripture is silent on which side of the heart Christ was pierced, there is no, “wrong,” side. The right side (opposite heart) was chosen because of a theological interpretation, but one could, also, make a theological interpretation for the heart side. As far as I know, it is not a part of the deposit of Faith that the right side was pierced. Personally, I favor the heart side because it is the fastest way to kill a man and where I would have aimed if I were the centurion.

    The Chicken

  12. frahobbit says:

    St Jean Baptiste in the late 70’s – 80’s was where I learned that books in the back of the church might not have the Good Housekeeping seal. I was new to spiritual reading and had the quaint idea that reading should strengthen my faith, not make me doubt it. But many felt that asking questions and doubting was “healthy”. Kirkegaard and Paul Tillich were frequently there. Eucharistic Adoration tracts or devotionals = 0. When I think about all that went on, I think it’s a miracle that I still believe.


  13. aviva meriam says:

    The Pastrami looks amazing…. the Matza ball light but the broth a bit light….

  14. jameeka says:

    I don’t suppose there’s a chance that a dutiful scribe recorded that homily, Father Z?

  15. stephen c says:

    I think I read years ago that Manet, while no devout Christian, was a compassionate enough person that he could not look directly, with sufficient comfort to be able to paint competently, at the model who portrayed our innocent dead or dying Savior. That is why the painting is a mirror image.

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