I recently happened upon an intriguing story in The Wall Street Journal chronicling a night spent in a rather unexpected place: the crypt at the Church of the Intercession in Harlem/Washington Heights. The event, which had a distinctly Speakeasy character, was hosted by Atlas Obscura, an organization dedicated to finding "the world's wondrous and curious places," according to its website.
Guests at this most recent event, "Cocktails in the Crypt," were treated to classic cocktails and a booming Jazz band, thanks in part to the incredible acoustics of the Guastavino-style tiled vault ceilings. Viewing the images of the affair, I was instantly brought back to the Palaces for the People exhibition we attended just two months ago at the Museum of the City of New York.
According to its website, the Church of the Intercession and its spectacular crypt were designed and built by the renowned architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue from 1912 to 1915. The Gothic Revival building is considered one of Goodhue's greatest works - and indeed, upon his death in 1924, Goodhue's ashes were interred there.
The congregation has hosted other jazz concerts in the crypt, so luckily you may still have the chance to experience this intriguing space filled with life. Visit the Church of the Intercession website for more information on events. And as for Atlas Obscura, the organization hosts events in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco regularly, giving curiosos on both coasts the opportunity to discover some truly unique, historical architecture while having a roaring good time. Check out their website here - I know I'll be on the lookout for their next event in Manhattan!
It's wonderful to know that so many New Yorkers are interested in these off-the-beaten-path gems, and just as importantly, in putting them to good use!