Art: Patching the Cathedral

Famed St. Patrick's Cathedral, on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, was getting its face lifted. Last week, at just about the halfway mark in an ambitious repair job, tubular-steel cobwebs festooned the neo-Gothic church. St. Patrick's had cost only $1,500,000 by the time it was dedicated in 1879; the patching had already taken $1,000,000, would take another year and another million dollars.

To architectural purists St. Pat's was a somewhat lumpy mixture of the Cologne and Rouen cathedrals, with a touch of Westminster Abbey inside. They pointed out that some of its supports and buttresses, borrowed from European cathedrals, where they were essential...

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