Beginning on New Years Day of 1892, New York City became the Gateway to America. Ellis Island became the federal immigration station in the United States where an unprecedented number of immigrants, hoping to improve the lives of their families, prepared for entry upon US soil. The following December on St. John's Day (27 December) the cornerstone was laid for what was to become a "city-wide church" and the largest Gothic cathedral in the world.
In keeping consistent with the reoccurring theme of the number seven, over the next 21 years seven chapels and a bapistry would crown the apse of the Cathedral influenced by the languages and nationalities most represented in New York City at the turn of the 20th Century. All of the chapels, excepting St. Ansgar's, were given as a memorial by a family (St. Ansgar's was financed by public subscription).
In walking around the Cathedral's ambulatory beginning at the NE corner of the crossing, visitors will find the Bapistry designed by Cram & Ferguson given by the family of Peter Stuyvesant followed by:
The Chapel of Saint Ansgar dedicated to the Scandinavian people
The Chapel of Saint Boniface dedicated to the German people
The Chapel of Saint Columba dedicated to the people of the British Isles
The Chapel of Saint Saviour inspired by the Eastern Orthodox population
The Chapel of Saint Martin dedicated to the people of France
The Chapel of Saint Ambrose for the Italian population
The Chapel of Saint James, the patron saint of Spain, dedicated to the people of Spain.
Each unit is a miraculous jewel in the crown of the cathedral. The plaques, statuary, windows, and artwork in each chapel as individual as the fingerprint of every artisan who participated in this adornment of the cathedral will be addressed over the following weeks. I hope you will enjoy my observations and descriptions.
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands...