In the south-western corner on the St John The Divine property is Synod Hall, a large indoor space available for functions (movies often rent it for catering and extras holding purposes when shooting in the area).
I noticed something on my last job there – the statues in the arch above the front doors can sing!
More specifically, they seem to have learned how to chirp. Somewhere, nestled in amongst the statues ornamenting the arch, are dozens and dozens of birds – and you will never see a single one.
I seriously have no idea where they hide. Yes, you might see nests, like the ones below, but you can stare and stare, and all you’ll see are statues chirping back at you. No wings flittering, no beaks pecking…If they weren’t chirping, you’d never know they were there.
While you’re staring up at the singing statues, you should take a moment to look more closely, as they’re not the typical ho-hum collection of saints and martyrs. Take, for example, this workman, complete with hard hat and measuring tape:
Nearby is this rain-coated sailor, who looks like he just stepped off a Gloucester fishing boat (note that he’s standing on a coiled rope):
A little lower is Hamlet, contemplating Yorick’s skull (that is one great skull!):
And here we have a scientist, peering through an ancient microscope:
The arch is filled with numerous sculptures representing all segments of society, and has some really imaginative work. Definitely worth a look next time you’re passing by 110th & Amsterdam. Though most people only bother to see the cathedral, the grounds of St. Johns have some pretty impressive sites, including three beautiful roaming peacocks and a garden consisting only of plants mentioned in the Bible.
Finally, for those who have never been inside Synod Hall, it is essentially the closest thing New York City has to the dining room at Hogwarts:
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