This morning we went to the Hillsong Church. This was recommended to us by our friend Ken. Hillsong claims to be the largest church in Australia. I know that some conservative churches never purge their membership roles, so they have massive membership lists, but I don't know if that is the case with Hillsong. It is associated with the Assemblies of God. Anyway, the church is held in a old theater in Midtown. When you walk in a rock band is really rocking on the stage. People are clapping and swaying. The theater was packed, I suspect in violation of fire codes. They have a light show with the music. They started the service with three songs with the words projected on a big screen behind the band. The first song kind of disturbed be. The refrain was that "Our God is an awesome God." It kept referring to "Our God" in multiple ways. This seemed pretty Old Testament to me. It implied that there were other Gods but that our God is better. It also implied ownership of God. He is our God, not your God. This was the first song and it set me off on a negative inclination right away. The rests of the songs were praise songs, which I don't really like that much. The whole service was clearly designed to 20 somethings who might be a little disaffected with their situation. God was offered as a panacea. Most of the people in attendance were 20 somethings. All of the people who spoke from the stage had Australian accents, so I don't know how much of a US staff they have. It was interesting, but I am not going back.
From there we had lunch at a restaurant that had Mexican and Chinese food. This is actually a fairly common type of restaurant here.
We then walked a couple of parks to Gramercy Park. This is one of the few private parks in Manhattan. Residents in the surrounding apartments get keys. We looked in through the fence. It was a very nice park. It also is where Lexington Ave. starts at 21st Street, so we saw One Lexington Avenue. We have written about how the building numbers vary from street to street because the numbering for all of the streets starts with "1" wherever the street starts. Not all streets start at the same place. For example, Central Park West starts at the south end of Central Park at 59th Street. A street number does not give you any idea where the building is located. You always have to ask for the cross streets.
One Lexington Avenue, the start of Lexington. Lexington Avenue starts at 21st Street. The next street to the west is Park Avenue. It starts at 14th Street, but for some reason starts renumbering at 32nd Street. The next street to the east is 3rd Avenue. It starts at 6th Street. All three start at number one. So none of the numbers are consistent as you go across the streets. So, if you walk west across 46nd street you will find 741 Third Street, 476 Lexington Avenue, and 240 Park Avenue.
Gramercy Park plaque and looking through the fence.
We then walked a few blocks over to Madison Square. Not the sports venue, that is on top of Penn Station on the other side of Manhattan. The original Madison Square Garden was located here, but was moved in 1925. The main landmark of Madison Square is the Flatiron Building. It was built in 1902 and was one of the first skyscrapers built in the world. It helped to revolutionize city buildings.
The Flatiron Building.
Detail on the Flatiron Building.
First floor of the Flatiron Building.
We then went to a movie at the AMC Empire 25 movie theater. This is a six story movie theater with 25 screens on 42nd Street near Times Square. We saw the "Mansanar Fishing Club". This was a very good movie about Japanese-American detainees during World War II at the Mansanar camp. The detainees were required to build the camp in the high plains desert of California. It was surrounded by barbed wire and guard towers with machine guns. Remember, none of the thousands of people imprisoned were ever charged with a crime.
The movie explained where they came from, mainly Southern California and how they lost all of their property and were required to live in the barracks that the government made them build. However,there were several very good trout streams near the camp. Several men and a few women started to sneak out of the camp to fish. It was a way to rebel against their forced imprisonment.
The movie theater has a balcony overlooking 42nd Street. It gives an interesting view of buildings around Times Square.
Looking down 42nd Street toward Time Square.
An interesting building on 8th Avenue.
We were going to a play that evening and it wasn't worth going home so we walked over a couple of blocks to Bryant Park. They have some very nice areas to sit and read. If fact, they have an area they called the Reading Room where they have newspapers and magazines to read.
The Reading Room at Bryant Park.
In the evening, we went to see Enemy of the People. This was a play written by Henrik Ibsen in 1882. The play is about two brothers (one a doctor, and the other the mayor) in a small Swedish town. The town is known for its healthy baths. The baths attract tourists and are the major source of income for the town. One brother, the doctor, finds that the baths contain pollution that is very unhealthy. He wants the town to shut the baths down and make repairs to fix the problem. His brother, the mayor, convinces the community that it would be a financial disaster for the town and that they should only make minor, cosmetic repairs. Neither brother is willing to yield and the doctor is labeled as the enemy of the people.
You first sympathy is with the doctor, but as the play progresses you find that his motives are no more pure than the motives of the mayor. It was an interesting and well acted play. The famous actor in this play was Richard "John Boy" Thomas.
The Copa Cabana- is this the nightclub in Barry Manilow's song?
I edited Al's comments, so have little to add.
I am accustomed to a church service including the Lord's Prayer, a confession of sins, some quiet time, a benediction at the end, and being able to see the other worshipers. All of these things were absent in the service. It was good for me to learn that I feel that I haven't worshipped without these bring part of the service.
Coming from MN, many of our immigrants are from Sweden. In the play, one of the characters arrives while another is eating dinner. He is offered food, but states that he has already eaten- because he can't imagine not eating at 6 p.m. It reminded me of my childhood and community- where meals were at 7, 12, and 6.
I concluded that the Mansanar guards must not have been very attentive to the camp residents- the credits listed about 150 people who went fishing. A group of the men left for a week for a trip into the mountains to find a lake which had a unique variety of trout. Like Al, I was curious about other aspects of life in the camp and the conditions of the camp.
The Copacabana is across the street from the theater.