Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue

This is just a simple post about a nice little church building that I’ve walked by many times, but only recently noticed.

Empire State Building and Collegiate Church

This picture is from somewhere around 5th Avenue and 26th Street in the middle of Manhattan.  When I originally took the picture, I was thinking in terms of a post commenting on the Empire State Building and how it really doesn’t capture the hearts of New Yorkers.  It’s not a bad building, but it isn’t one that you admire in the way that the Chrysler Building is admired.

The picture above captures some of the plainness of the Empire State Building.  It isn’t an ugly building by any stretch, but it is only notable because it’s the tallest building in the city…now.

Anyway, the nice church in front of it does capture the difference between big and beautiful.  That was how I was thinking of characterizing it.  It’s not a deep thought by any means, but this blog is all about introducing and presenting NYC (I’ve had several tourists point at the Chrysler Building and ask if that was the Empire State).

But the church is the subject, let’s stop my straying.

It’s formal name is the Marble Collegiate Church.  It’s part of the Reformed Church of America.  That’s a puzzle to me and I’m usually pretty good on that sort of stuff.  Apparently is the new version (or “a” new version) of the Dutch Reformed Church.  The church itself says it’s been around since 1628, making it plenty old. 

It’s got a great front door.


On the day I walked by, the surrounding fence was covered with ribbons.

Ribbons on Marble Collegiate Church

The ribbons are posted to symbolize the deaths of American soldiers (gold), prayers for the Iraqi people (blue), and prayers for peace (green).  The writeup doesn’t give any indication whether the ribbons are part of a protest or simply exactly what it seems to indicate:  prayers for peace and help to the grieving.

And was this the reason for me doing this post?  No.  Nor was the relative ancientness of the church.  Instead, it turns out that this is where Norman Vincent Peale spent 50 years of his ministry.  He’s famous for his teaching on “the power of positive thinking”.  There’s a statue of him in the courtyard.  Barely visible due to the ribbons. I had to climb up on a ledge to get a decent shot of the statue.


And, tucked away well to Dr. Peale’s left, is another statue.


It appears to be Joseph, Mary, and Child; possibly on their flight to Egypt (Matthew 2:14).

It’s small and well out of the way whereas the statue of one of the church ministers is big and front and center.  Make of that what you will.


Explore posts in the same categories: Manhattan, Mid-town, Wanderings

One Comment on “Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue”

  1. birbal kumar Says:

    January 18, 2008 at 10:23 am
    Marble collegiate church 5th avenue: I came to from the book THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING by NORMAN VINCENT PEALE.
    january 18,2008 at 10:20am
    Hi I am an student of engineerint currently study in final year.
    I am suffering from problem.My final year exam is from next month.please say me
    some thing to overcome my problem.I am currently studing power of positive thinking.
    I regularly study BIBLE.I am a HINDU,but it helped me alot.
    I would like to say you to pray to GOD for me.
    I am sure GOD will defnitly help me in such kind of situation.

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