The organ, and the east end of the cathedral, were rededicated and reopened today after years of repair and restoration work since the 2001 fire. I've never seen the cathedral look so bright and tidy as it did this evening. They cleaned out most of that jarring modern art that either clashed with the setting, or more frequently, was overwhelmed by it. Happily, they kept Keith Haring's triptych, the only work of recent art that took the cathedral setting into consideration.
I was part of my parish's delegation to the rededication service. I got to process around in cassock in surplice beneath soaring ribbed vaults and arches. I had a great time.
Here's an old postcard that shows what the completed cathedral is supposed to look like, according to the design of Ralph Adams Cram.
An old postcard showing the original Heins and LaFarge design. The east end choir survives from this design, though the vaults were rebuilt and a clerestory added by Cram.
Cram's nave under construction in the 1930s. It remains to be seen how the giant crossing arches left over from the Heins and LaFarge design will be incorporated into Cram's vision of the crossing tower.
This is what St. John the Unfinished looks like today. The southwest tower remains unfinished and looking very truncated.
Here's why I think the Cram design is so brilliant and original. It's a huge French Gothic triforium and clerestory articulation screened behind a German hall church nave. It's so odd, and it works so beautifully.
I love Big John, that huge unfinished lummox of a cathedral up there in Morningside Heights. It has been under construction for more than a century; fitfully constructed at one end while being restored at the other. I doubt anyone alive now will see it finished. But remember, it took 600 years to finish Cologne cathedral in Germany. St. John the Divine will be finished before that.