CATEGORY: Architecture

Before the arctic temperatures and the wind tunnel came to Long Island City, I spent some time exploring the side roads of my new neighborhood. While walking around the Citibank building and on my way to to the 5 Pointz Graffiti outdoor art space, I accidentally discovered this short span of Victorian houses, originally from the 1880′s, on 45th Avenue. They are a very interesting contrast to all the new glass and steel high-rises coming up in the area.

This New York Landmark Preservation Foundation sign, in front of the brick red and matte black pristine houses reads, “Hunters Point Historic District. The Houses on 45th Avenue, then built called 12th Street, were built mostly in the 1880′s when Hunters Point was part of the independent Long Island City. They represent, in frame and brick, a victorian middle class urban building type and remain almost untouched. The nicely articulated details of Neo-Grec Style corners, window frame, iron railings and stoops recall the days when uniform buildings design was a proud symbol of domestic respectability.”

©2013 Danee Sarman All rights reserved

It is home to the Dead Sea Scrolls (the oldest Hebrew biblical manuscript) at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. This building, which is a wing of the museum, is called the Shrine of the Book and was designed to resemble the lids of the jars in which the first scrolls were found in the Qumran Caves. Although you can’t see it in my picture, the white dome sits on top of a reflecting pool that sprays water towards the building. Adjacent is a tall black basalt wall. Together they represent the War of the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness, also know as the War Scroll.

It was designed by American Jewish architects, Armand P. Bartos and Frederic J. Kiesler in 1965, which initially caused a fuss because they were not Israeli.

No pictures are allowed inside, so let me give you a visual– when I first walked in I was met with the foyer area displaying information on where and how the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Walking further inside, I entered into a long, dark tunnel representing the Qumran caves. This lead to the dimly-lit two tier circular interior (inside the white dome). On the first tier, the manuscripts are rolled out along the walls circling the center raised tier where a display case in the shape of a Torah holder (Etz Chaim) houses The Great Isaiah Scroll. This scroll is one of the oldest manuscripts discovered in Qumran and is the best preserved of all the biblical manuscripts. It dates from about 100 BCE and is 66 chapters, discovered in its entirety. Truly amazing. 

©2011 Danee Gilmartin All rights reserved

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