Nestled amongst glistening skyscrapers, a humble 18th century chapel stands in Lower Manhattan. Once the tallest building in New York City, St Paul’s Chapel has seen the city grow up and change around it since its grand opening in 1766.
In both celebration and homage, Orbitz has unveiled a fully interactive new Visual History’ of New York City, which allows viewers to experience 250 years of the city’s history as seen through the eyes of the Chapel.
Below are just a selection of the images in the series:
Grand Opening of St. Paul’s Chapel
This is St. Paul’s Chapel. It opened its doors in 1766 and at the time, it was the tallest building in New York City.
It was built on land granted by Queen Anne, and was modelled after James Gibbs’ church, St Martin-in-the-Fields in London, by architect Thomas McBean.
It was built as a “chapel of ease” for parishioners who found Trinity Church inconvenient to visit. Given that the Georgian style chapel is only a few blocks away from Trinity Church, and the fact that it was quite common for large churches like Trinity to charge pew rent; St. Paul’s Chapel was most likely not just a closer house of worship, but a more affordable one too.
Wall Street Crash
The Wall Street Stock Market Crash in October 1929, led America into the worst economic depression in its history. Billions of dollars were lost in the aftermath of Black Tuesday, wiping out millions of investors. The Crash affected both the rich and the poor as unemployment spiked dramatically, especially in heavy industry.
Many workers in Lower Manhattan took to the streets and headed to the New York Stock Exchange to protest. Crowds of people flooded Wall Street, about 20 minutes away from St. Paul’s Chapel, bewildered at the events that had just taken place.
It was only after World War II, that the U.S. economy fully turned around and the country saw a revitalization in its industries.
The whole word was left in shock when two airplanes, hijacked by Islamic terrorists, flew into the World Trade Center on September 11th 2001. Miraculously, St Paul’s Chapel, which was just across the street from the Twin Towers, remained completely intact, giving the church its nickname “the little chapel that stood.”
St. Paul’s Chapel became a safe-haven for those who participated in the rescue searches, with many entering the chapel to seek respite. St. Paul’s Chapel provided round-the-clock-relief ministry to the rescue and recovery workers over the course of 9 months. Many of the churches’ pews have markings of heavy boots worn by firefighters who rested there.
Both national and international support flooded the church, with countries and states sending banners of encouragement and peace cranes, telling New York City to keep their heads up and to find hope even in the darkest of times. The Chapel still has these messages on display in memory of 9/11.
For more information, and to view the full set of images, please Click Here.