Sunday, December 23, 2007

I Don't Know Why I Didn't See This Coming

"New York Times, Sunday December 23- MACY’S SANTALAND and the tree at Rockefeller Center notwithstanding, many New Yorkers are not celebrating Christmas. In addition to our sizable humbug community, they include Jews, Muslims, Hindus and members of just about any other non-yuletide-caroling religion you can think of. (Not to mention atheists.)

"So don’t limit yourself to St. Patrick’s and other Christmas standards. Why not visit the city’s other houses of worship, many of which are less crowded but just as open and welcoming to the public. Here are a few you can fit into a weekend.

"Mosques come in all shapes and sizes in the city, from converted basement apartments to elaborate domed beauties. But if you’re going to visit just one, try the Islamic Cultural Center of New York, a domed mosque on the Upper East Side that opened in 1991.

"Prayers are called five times a day, which makes it pretty easy to be there for one. Non-Muslims can observe from the side of the intricately tiled prayer hall on the first floor (or they can remove their footwear and enter). The times change with the seasons, but the midday prayer is at 12:30 in the winter and 1 p.m. in summer. It’s an accommodation to the American tradition known as lunch hour.

"The jewel of the mosque, however, is the grand domed hall on the third floor, punctuated by a circle of lights hanging low from the soaring ceiling. It is used regularly only for the Friday midday prayer; at other times you’ll have to ask if someone can open it for you. The center also welcomes non-Muslims to its Islamic Forum on Saturdays at 1 p.m."

Am I the only one who ever wonders if the Times is into parodying itself?

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