The garden next to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, at Amsterdam and 112th Street, New York City, has two names: Peace Fountain Garden and Children's Sculpture Garden. I met friends there yesterday. We toured the cathedral and stayed for Evensong at 4:00 p.m. In between, we explored the garden.
The dominating feature of the Peace Garden is a 40-foot-high baroque Peace Fountain so chock full of images, symbols and stories that three of us walked around it commenting on our observations for some 20-30 minutes. The wings of the Archangel Michael soar at the top of the sculpture and the head of a strong but decapitated Satan hangs below. That's the overarching story of this sculpture by Greg Wyatt, good triumphs over evil.
"What's the meaning of the giant crab?" we wondered aloud. (Later we learned it is meant to remind us of life origins in sea and struggle.) Also easy to identify were the drowsy moon facing West and a joyous sun facing East.
As we continued to look and discuss, we saw so many giraffes, I was motivated to investigate their significance as totem. I discovered that giraffes are social animals. They like each other's company. With their head in the sky and their legs and feet on the ground, they can see long distances and they have the ability to progress--admirable qualities in peace makers.
One-hundred-twenty bronze reliefs and sculptures, many of them whimsical, encircle the fountain. Many were sculpted by local children. This explains the Children's Sculpture Garden. Examining these was great fun.
Taken whole, this garden was both charming and engaging. Eventually though, our attention diminished and Lynn noticed the Hungarian pastry shop across the street. (We came home with an apple strudel and a rum and chocolate confection "to die for.")