Tour Our Church
The Church of the Transfiguration is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5 pm and visitors are welcome to look around during those hours.
During the week the main part of the church is not open, but tours are given every Sunday at approximately 12:45 pm after the 11 am service.
Enter the garden through the unique Lychgate and sit near the fountain where the birds splash and dip their beaks in the water.
Pause for a moment before entering the church to see the lovely old statue “Our Lady of the Garden” located to the right of the entrance.
On weekdays enter the Holy Family Chapel, known also as "the Brides Chapel”, built with funds from the couples who were married there. On the Italian marble altar, the tabernacle is encrusted with jewels donated by brides.
Above the altar, is a stunning tryptic depicting the betrothal of Mary and Joseph.
To the left of the Bride’s altar, through a narrow entryway is one of the jewels of the church, the St. Mary Chapel, honoring the Virgin Mary and in memory of Mary Houghton, the wife of the second rector. Designed in English pointed Gothic style, it has a beautiful marble altar, gilt mosaics on the floor and stained glass panels showing scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary.
Inside the church take in the many stained glass windows, including the St. Faith window, one of the oldest in America, from a 13th century chapel in Belgium.
The Joseph Jefferson window depicts the incident which gave rise to the church’s nickname of “the Little Church Around the Corner.” The actor, Joseph Jefferson can be seen carrying a shrouded George Holland under the Lychgate to be received by Christ; around the window are scenes from Jefferson's famous role as Rip Van Winkle.
Edwin Booth, the leading Shakespearean actor of his time and the founder of the Players’ Club, is shown in his iconic role of Hamlet in a window by John La Farge. His brother, John Wilkes Booth, assassinated President Lincoln.
The close relationship between the church and the theatrical profession is also evident from the many memorial plaques of actors and writers famous in their times, such as Rex Harrison, Otis Skinner, and P.G. Wodehouse.
Not to be missed in the south transept is the Madonna Shrine designed by Ralph Adams Cram, with baptismal scenes set in windows on either side. One famous panel is the "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot Window", showing the baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch by St. Philip. It is dedicated to a couple, George and Elizabeth Wilson, he a freed slave and she a freeborn woman, who for 30 years worked around the church under the first rector.
Visit other points of interest in the church, such as the St. Joseph's mortuary Chapel; the bible given in memory of Edwin Booth; the C.B. Fisk organ donated by Mrs Marie Schwarz in memory of her husband, Arnold Schwartz, and the bronze bust of the Founder, Rev. George H. Houghton.
The church is wheelchair accessible. Photography is permitted.