This is St. Mary the Virgin. It’s located on 46th Street in Times Square. It’s always been a bit discombobulating for me to stumble across a church in an unlikely place like Times Square. Neighborhoods in Manhattan are routinely torn apart and reinvented, but you don’t mess with church property, so you occasionally get these islands of Olde World New York amongst the skyscrapers.
St. Mary’s was founded in 1868 when the neighborhood was still called Longacre Square. The neighborhood changed its name to Times Square when the New York Times moved it’s offices uptown to its present location.
I was walking by one evening and was surprised to see a well-attended mass being celebrated. It could have been a holy day of obligation but that’s a world I left behind long ago, so I wasn’t sure.
I saw a flash of color and light that looked oddly out of place. Initially, I thought it was inside the church but it turned out to be a reflection the doors of this 150-year old church.
Upon closer examination, I could see that it was a reflection of the business located directly across the street on the south side of 46th.
Is having an authentic Irish bar across the street from a Catholic church unusual? Not in New York City. In fact, it seems oddly appropriate.