Enlarge photos for detail!
Looking down upon the Grace Church from an 11th floor window on the West side of my building in the East Village. Note how the church itself is sandwiched within its own administrative block of offices, yet affords a splendid view on the sidewalk of Broadway.
The imposing clay urn above, at least 7' high and round, dominates the quiet, shady private garden of the Grace Episcopal church, located on the corner of Broadway and 10th Street. No one knows why the Rector (for 26 years) William Reed Huntington (1838-1901), brought it to the garden 100 years ago, when it was excavated from a Roman dig while he was visiting at time.
The Grace Church is a National, State and New York City landmark. It has been, and continues to improve its community activities, expand its school, and repair its failing Gothic revival architecture. Right now it is fundraising for the restoration of the Chantry, which is already proceeding.
The urn is falling apart, though held strongly together in its iron framework. As will be noted, the crack is in the shape of an expressionist symbolic cruciform. Whatever William Huntington had in mind for its addition to the church garden, other than that perhaps he liked it, ironically this ancient Roman urn survives, sporting a mysteriously acquired religious symbol; and a Tour of the Grace Church Website does not comment upon, nor does anyone acknowledge the Roman urn as an object of interest in other literature.
I discovered that Huntington once wrote, in part, in a prayer for Holy Week: 'Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace, through thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.'