Morningside Heights, MANHATTAN (PIX11) — The Cathedral of St. John the Devine will be front and center this week when hundreds of people make their way to Morningside Heights for the funeral service of the late, great actor James Gandolfini who will be laid to rest at 10 o’clock in the morning on Thursday.
“The Sopranos” TV mob boss died of a heart attack last week while on vacation in Rome with his young son. He was only 51-years-old.
“If he’s a Christian its the perfect place,” said a resident of the area for more than 30 years, Nicholas Sanditzky, who considers himself a bit of an expert when it comes to his favorite landmark in the neighborhood.
So we got a bit of history lesson on the great church.
The first cornerstone of the cathedral was laid in 1892 and it is still not complete.
“When it was first built, the bishop said, ‘I’ll finish it when there is no more poverty in the world.’ That was never going to happen,” laughed Sanditzky.
Completed or not, Sanditzky says it doesn’t take away from spectacular structure.
“The altar is magnificent, the ceilings are fantastic, the glassworks is unbelievable.”
Especially, Sanditzky says, that rose window that is smack dab in the middle.
“It is second largest in the world, 33 feet diameter. The cobalt blue in the window is the hardest color to get in glass so that is a magnificent rose window,” explained Sanditzky.
As far as this resident is concerned, Gandolfini’s family choosing this church for the funeral, is ideal.
“It’s got class, it’s got history…and it is one of the largest Catholic cathedrals in the world, so you couldn’t pick a better one,” said Sanditzky.