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Lost Gem
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St. Vartan Armenian Apostolic Cathedral

With construction starting in 1958 and finishing ten years later, Saint Vartan Cathedral represents the first Armenian Apostolic cathedral built in North America. Named after a saint who was martyred a millennium and a half ago defending Armenian Christianity, Saint Vartan Cathedral had a memorable beginning. During its construction and immediately following its completion, the building was visited by the highest authority within the Church, His Holiness Vasken I, marking the first such visit by a Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians in the United States. For a people so persecuted throughout history, and especially by the recent Armenian genocide, the building and consecration of this holy house was a monumental event in the community. His Holiness Vasken I, looking out at an assembled audience soon after Saint Vartan's completion, spoke of "an admirable picture of spiritual grace - a rare moment of spiritual bliss - to which we are all witnesses. " But far from being a relic, the church continues to thrive with the energy of the community it houses. I encourage any visitors to the church to walk through the intricately decorated doors and take some time to absorb the sheer size and depth of the church. Narrow strips of stained glass depicting biblical scenes and significant events in the history of the Armenian Church rise up to the impressive dome, which depicts Christian symbols in paint and stained glass, such as a human eye within a triangle (representing the omniscient Triune God), the wooden ship (representing the Church), and the white dove (representing the Holy Spirit). Closer to the altar, the “Head of Christ” is chiseled on a slate of stone in high relief. Silver and gold crosses decorate the distinctly Armenian altar. On the sides of the altar are paintings of St. Sahag and St. Mesrob, the two men credited with inventing the Armenian Alphabet, and a painting that seeks to honor the victims of the dreadful Armenian genocide.

Lost Gem
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Holographic Studios

Holographic Studios is, in the words of its owner Jason Sapan, “a conundrum. ” Walking by the East 26th Street store, one would never realize they are passing a house of holograms that has been there for decades. What is a hologram? “It’s sort of like a muffin pan, ” Jason explained. “Although what we are pouring in isn’t batter, but light, and it is taking the shape down to the size of a light wave, which is half of a millionth of a meter across — that’s our pixel. So a hologram is not only three dimensional, but incredibly powerful in the data it is recording. ” Jason’s career began as a child. His dad “designed the displays of technology for the phone system, ” and when AT& T built the pavilion at the World’s Fair, he helped solder some of the wires. “I had lasers in my house from the early 1960s. I grew up with holograms, never thinking it would become my life’s work. ” During the summer of 1968, Jason had his first paid job showing off his own holograms, and then made the decision to go professional in 1975. His original upstairs space was in Chelsea, but after a few years, he realized that a streetfront connection would be beneficial and made the move to his present location. Every year Jason tries to evolve “a little bit. ” Rather than doing the same things over and over, he changes with the marketplace. “People are interested in different things, and it is incumbent upon me to recognize where the trend is going and to play to that. ” Clients have included Andy Warhol, Bill Clinton, Isaac Asimov, the New York City Ballet, Mayor Ed Koch, sheiks, and countless other celebrities, as well as many Fortune 500 companies. Jason certainly had the clientele and ability to have grown into the corporate world, but when asked why he never chose to “go big, ” his immediate response was, “I would lose the relationships that I have developed over the years. I am a big business, just in a small space. I love this lifestyle. ”