Twelve Creches

To close the year we present 12 creches. St Francis of Assisi is credited with producing the first pantomime of the nativity in 1223. Performers still dress and play out the story of the birth of Christ in church and school productions. More ubiquitous are the sculpted versions of the scene. These depict Jesus lying in a manger with Mary and Joseph at either side. Depending on the complexity of presentation, there may be a stable setting and various characters – an angel with guiding star, animals, shepherds, the wise men and others. We found the examples below in a parking lot, on a fire escape, also in and around several local churches. Our critical eye tends to soften focus when confronted with these acts of devotion. We’re charmed by each display, humble or grand. Best wishes for the holidays, see you in 2014!

The meditation garden next to Saint Francis of Assisi Church at 135 West 31st Street.

The meditation garden next to Saint Francis of Assisi Church at 135 West 31st Street.

The view from Houston Street towards the creche of Saint Anthony of Padua Church on Sullivan Street.

The view from Houston Street towards the creche of Saint Anthony of Padua Church on Sullivan Street.

Left: the parking lot behind Saint Anthony's on Sullivan Street. Right: a fire escape on 14th Street.

Left: the parking lot behind Saint Anthony’s on Sullivan Street. Right: a fire escape on 14th Street.

Views of the manger and alter at the Church of Saint Bernard on 14th Street.

Views of the manger and alter at the Church of Saint Bernard on 14th Street.

The outdoor creche at Our Lady of Pompeii on Carmine Street.

The outdoor creche at Our Lady of Pompeii on Carmine Street.

Trinity Church near the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway.

Trinity Church near the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway.

View in front of Saint Patrick's Old Cathedral on Mulberry Street.

View in front of Saint Patrick’s Old Cathedral on Mulberry Street.

The astroturf covered gangplank to the creche of Most Precious Blood Church on Mulberry Street.

The astroturf covered gangplank to the creche of Most Precious Blood Church on Mulberry Street.

Inside the church of Saint John the Baptist on 31st Street.

Inside the church of Saint John the Baptist on 31st Street.

In downtown Jersey City, at top the creche at Holy Rosary and below Saint Mary's.

In downtown Jersey City, at top the creche at Holy Rosary and below Saint Mary’s.

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