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Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Grotto

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The city's most elaborate yard shrine

Place Details

Borough : Staten Island
Neighborhood : Rosebank
Open Space, What New Yorkers Find Beautiful, Folklife, Euro/ American, Place of Worship

Place Matters Profile

The city's most elaborate yard shrine originates from 1936 when members of the Society of Mount Carmel volunteered their labor over several decades to construct the stone-studded grotto. The main shrine is 20' high x 50' long, with smaller structures and a central fountain scattered in close proximity to cement massing around the site.

Nestled in the Rosebank neighborhood, the main chapel of fieldstone, flanked by smaller niches, is covered in cobblestones, sand, shells, and everything else imaginable--from bits of glass to marbles to bicycle reflectors. The hand-crafted shrine is most prominent during the annual July feast to honor the Madonna. But it also is a force in daily life, both as a contributor to the cultural cohesion of the immediate area and as a pilgrimage site for Catholics citywide who light candles in the grotto and place prayers in its crevices. Along with other yard shrines built by Italian...

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Anonymous Nominator

Represents a continuation of a deep-seated tradition of religious activity surrounding natural and man-made grottos. Includes the original meeting hall of the turn-of-the-century Italian immigrant mutual aid society.

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