Some of the most stunning works of architecture in New York City are places of worship: churches, synagogues, mosques, and other religious buildings that elicit a sense of awe. In the forthcoming book Divine New York, Inside the Historic Churches and Synagogues of Manhattan, photographer Michael Horowitz and author Elizabeth Anne Hartman explore these spaces and the hidden histories they hold.

On Thursday, December 8th, join Untapped New York Insiders for a virtual talk with Horowitz and Hartman, moderated by Untapped New York’s Chief Experience Officer Justin Rivers, where the photographer and author will present images and stories from the book! This event is free for Untapped New York Insiders. Not a member yet? Use code JOINUS for your first month free.

Abyssinian Baptist Church

Divine New York Book Talk

Michael Horowitz started photographing synagogues and churches in Manhattan in 1994 during a visit to the Eldridge Street Synagogue on the Lower East Side, which is now a National Historic Landmark. Over the years, Horowitz continued to explore and photograph the city’s sacred spaces. In Divine Spaces, Horowitz takes the reader along with him for a trip to seventy-five different religious sites, from the Lower East Side to Upper Manhattan.

Basilica of St. Patrick's Old Cathedral
Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, All photos by Michael Horowitz from Divine New York (Abbeville Press)

From the stained glass windows of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral to the carefully crafted wooden ceiling of the Holy Name of Jesus, Horowitz’s photographs capture grand architectural elements and the smallest thoughtful details. Why is there a depiction of a lobster on the ceiling of the Bialystoker Synagogue? You’ll uncover the story and hear about other interesting tidbits during the Insiders virtual talk!

In the book, Horowitz’s images are accompanied by text from Elizabeth Anne Hartman. The text reveals the stories behind each building and the communities they serve. Hartman also explores how these spaces inspired the New Yorkers who worshipped within them including figures such as Clement Moore, author of “The Night Before Christmas,” and Black philanthropist Pierre Toussaint.

B'nai Jeshurun from Divine New York
B’nai Jeshurun, All photos by Michael Horowitz from Divine New York (Abbeville Press)

Divine New York explores both iconic and unassuming sites, from well-known houses of worship like the St. Patrick’s Cathedral to off-the-beaten-path locations like the rustic Church of the Resurrection on East 74 th Street and the gothic crypt of the Church of the Intercession in Washington Heights. 

In the virtual Insiders talk, you’ll discover what makes these sites aesthetically, architecturally, and historically notable. You’ll see unique design elements such as the radiant stained glass window in the Eldridge Street Synagogue sanctuary designed by artist Kiki Smith and the mighty vaulted ceiling of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Finally, you’ll discover how these sacred spaces help tell the story of the evolution of the island of Manhattan. Accompanying this conversation, a slideshow of images will showcase the sculptures, frescoes, fixtures, and architectural details of the places in Divine New York. Get a sneak peek at a few of the photos from the book in the gallery below:

Abyssinian Baptist Church

Divine New York Book Talk

  • Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
  • Eldridge Street Synagogue
  • Abyssinian Baptist Church
  • Holy Trinity Catholic Church
  • St. Joseph's Church
  • Trinity Church
  • Central Synagogue

Next, check out The Top 10 Oldest Churches in NYC