Tuesday, January 6, 2009

St. John the Divine Tours

No not for you - only for us tourism professionals. And it's free, while you'll probably end up paying 15 bucks. It's called a FAM tour for some reason - I think it stands for Familiarity Tour - the point being tour guides get familiar with a place for free, and then bring tourists there who pay. Going on these tours is the best (and really only) perk of the business. All tour guides love New York, love tours, and love stuff for free.

For those of you in the biz (or who could conceivably fake it - I don't think they'll be checking licenses at the door):

Tourism Professionals
Cathedral Seminar 2009

The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine invites you to learn about
and explore the richness of this brilliantly restored, historic New York
destination through a series of FREE TOURS created solely for
tourism industry professionals.

Tuesday, January 13th:

10:30am - 12:00pm
Cathedral Highlights
Explore the Cathedral's bustling nave and serene chapels from end-to-end
now that the post-fire restoration has been completed. Learn about the
history, architecture, art, and social programs of this great sacred
space. If you have never joined us for a Cathedral tour or wish to
brush up on general information now that the whole Cathedral is
accessible once more, this program is the one for you! Led by Visitor
Services Administrator Kevin Blum.

1:00pm - 2:30pm
Behind the Beauty
What do a five-foot-seven man, a lamb, and eight flower petals all have
in common? The answer: St. John the Divine! Look beyond the aesthetic
beauty of this great cathedral to find biblical messages revealed in
stone, glass, and yes, even math. Discover how to show your groups how
the left-brained converges with the right-brained to create the symphony
of symbolism that is St. John the Divine. Led by Cathedral Guide Andrew

Wednesday, January 14th:

10:30am - 12:00pm
Secrets of St. John the Divine
A stripper in a stained-glass window? A maze of tunnels beneath the
crypt? Explore hidden images that visitors almost always over-look as
you learn about the Cathedral's fascinating history and discover the
truth behind urban legends about the Cathedral. This newly created tour
debuts this Winter! Led by Senior Cathedral Guide Tom Fedorek

1:00pm - 2:30pm
An Inside Look
Climb more than 124 feet through the spiral staircases to the top of the
world's largest Cathedral. Stand on a buttress and get a close look at
the magnificent stained-glass and vaulting. Situate the place and
purpose of the Cathedral by viewing its surrounding neighborhood from
the roof. Led by Visitor Services Administrator Kevin Blum.

To register for these tours please contact Kevin Blum at either
212-316-7350 or kblum@stjohndivine.org by Saturday, January 10, 2009.

As a note, St. John the Divine is a great place and probably the most underrated tourist attraction in New York. Even if you can't make the FAM tours, you should definitely make it a priority to check out. And I'm not just saying this because I saw Philippe Petit do a tightrope act assisted by David Duchovny, or because the old scaffolding on the south tower (since gone) made it super-easy to climb up and hang out on the roof at night. The space is remarkable, the history is amazing, they have one of Keith Haring's last works, let Elephants in the place every year, and occasionally let you on the roof legitimately (safer, but not as fun). What more do you want?