Friday, April 25, 2014

More NY Catholic Trivia: Name that chapel

The 1955 chapel, which did not cost a million dollars
The 1966 chapel, which did cost a million dollars
 A wedding at the million dollar chapel

This chapel's construction was spearheaded by a US Customs employee seeking to honor a battlefield vow he'd made to the Virgin Mary.  The current chapel is actually the third built on the site in less than 50 years.   The first was built in 1955, but was soon demolished to permit airport expansion.  A second chapel was built in 1966, at a cost of more than a million dollars, which was a very large amount of money back then.   Willie Mays, the highest paid player in baseball that year, made $133,000.  The current highest paid baseball player makes $33 million.   If the cost of chapels has risen at the same rate as baseball salaries, a million dollar chapel, in 1966 dollars, would be the equivalent of a $225 million chapel today.

The chapel was heavily used; nine Masses were said in the chapel every weekend.   It's been observed that the acid test of a church's beauty is whether it's popular with brides.  If so, the million dollar chapel was certainly very beautiful, since droves of brides chose to be married there.  More than 100 weddings took place in the chapel every year, quite a large number considering the chapel wasn't associated with a parish, and its location was not especially convenient.  For most, getting to this chapel would entail beating the Van Wyck, which of course no one has ever done.

In 1988 the million dollar chapel, like its 1955 predecessor, was demolished to make way for airport expansion.  However, this time the budget for a new chapel was dramatically smaller than the amount available in 1966.  The new budget permitted only a closet-sized space within the airport terminal itself:  see the photo of the new chapel's dedication below.

I doubt the current chapel is popular with brides.

All three chapels shared the same name.   Name that chapel, and win an official Inigo Hicks refrigerator magnet.

No comments:

Post a Comment