St. Catherine of Siena Church - New York City

 
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Church of St. Catherine of Siena
(Roman Catholic)

411 East 68th Street
New York, N.Y. 10016
http://stcatherinenyc.org

Organ Specifications:
411 East 68th Street (since 1930)
• III/58 Walker Technical Company electronic (2015)
 III/81 Allen Organ Company electronic (1991)
 II/20 Welte-Tripp Organ Corp. (1930)
420 East 69th Street (1897-1930)
• unknown


In October 1896, the Domincan Fathers of St. Vincent Ferrer Church created a mission to serve the mainly Irish residents of the area bounded by Second Avenue to the East River and from 60th Street to the south side of 72nd Street. The mission was dedicated to St. Catherine of Siena (1837-1380), patron saint of those who heal the sick. A parcel of land on East 69th Street near First Avenue was purchased, upon which Rev. C. M. Thuente, the first pastor, erected a three-story brick building for use as a temporary church. This church was consecrated by Archbishop Corrigan on August 29, 1897. Soon thereafter, a parochial school was opened in a house across the street. In 1905, the church building was reconfigured to accomodate the school in the lower part with the 1100-seat church on the upper part.

The property for St. Catherine's Park, located across the street from the present church, was purchased by the City of New York in 1907 for use as a public playground. Although not affiliated with the church, the park's design is largely modeled after the Florentine floorplan of the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minera in Rome, where the body of St. Catherine of Siena rests. The spray shower stands in for the center aisle, leading to what would be the altar where the flagpole stands. The play areas to each side represent the pews, and the paving pattern throughout the park resembles the actual floor of the church in Rome. The elephant spray shower makes reference to Bernini's sculpture of an elephant that supports a 6th-century Egyptian obelisk and stands outside the church. Following a renovation of the park, lilies were planted throughout, because St. Catherine was often depicted holding a lily, a symbol of new life.

St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church - New York City  
   
Plans for the present church building were filed in April 1930. This new church was to face East 68th Street and would cost an estimated $250,000. Built from 1930-1931 to the design of Wilfrid E. Anthony, the church is a rare example of Arts and Crafts style in a New York house of worship. Beginning in 1932, hospitals were built in the area and the church began to serve patients and staff, a mission it continues to this day.

In July 1995, nearby Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center purchased the two-story red brick school and three-story convent, at 410-20 E. 69th Street, from the Archdiocese of New York; at the same time the priory, at 411 East 68th Street, was purchased from the Dominican Fathers.
Walker Technical Company
Zionsville, Penn. (2015)
Electronic tonal production
3 manuals, 58 stops


The electronic instrument built by Walker Technical Company uses digital samples from Aeolian-Skinner pipe organs.
 
   
 
Allen Organ Company
Macungie, Penn. (1991)
Electronic tonal production
3 manuals, 81 stops


In 1991, the Welte-Tripp pipe organ was replaced by an electronic instrument built by the Allen Organ Company.
 
Welte-Tripp Organ Corp.
South Beach, Conn. (1930)
Electro-pneumatic action
2 manuals, 23 stops, 20 ranks


The original organ in the present church was built in 1930 by the Welte-Tripp Organ Corp., of South Beach, Conn. Pipecounts shown below are suggested, based on other Welte-Tripp organs of the same era.
               
Great Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Open Diapason
73
2
  Fifteenth
61
8
  Clarabella
73
8
  Tromba
73
8
  Erzähler
73
  Tremolo
4
  Octave
73
  Chimes

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon
73
  Mixture III ranks
183
8
  Open Diapason
73
8
  Trumpet
73
8
  Stopped Flute
73
8
  Oboe
73
8
  Viola
73
8
  Vox Humana
61
8
  Viola Celeste
73
  Tremolo
4
  Flute
73
   

     

     
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
32
  Resultant
8
  Octave
16
  Open Diapason [unit]
44
8
  Flute
16
  Bourdon [unit]
44
16
  Bombarde [ext. GT Tromba]
12
16
  Lieblich Gedeckt
SW
   
   
Sources:
     The Catholic Church in the United States of America: Undertaken to Celebrate the Golden Jubilee of His Holiness, Pope Pius X, Vol. III. New York: The Catholic Editing Company, 1914.
     Church of St. Catherine of Sienna web site: http://stcatherinenyc.org
     Dunlap, David W. From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.
     "History of the Parish." Church of St. Catherine of Siena web site: http://www.sienaopnyc.org/history/
     "Religious News and Views," The New York Times (Aug. 28, 1897).
     "Manhattan Plans Filed," The New York Times (Apr. 8, 1930).
     Shelley, Thomas J. The Bicentennial History of the Archdiocese of New York 1808-2008. Strasbourg: Éditions du Signe, 2007.
     Smith, Rollin. Stoplist of Welte-Tripp Organ Corp. organ (1930).

Illustrations:
     Panoramio.com. Interior (2011). (credit: astikhin).
     Shelley, Thomas J. The Bicentennial History of the Archdiocese of New York 1808-2008. Exterior.