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The Little Church Around the Corner

By Linda Tancs

Known officially as the Church of the Transfiguration, the picturesque Episcopal church at 1 East 29th Street in New York City is better known by locals and tourists as “The Little Church Around the Corner.” The nickname dates back to 1870, when Joseph Jefferson (famous for his portrayal of Rip Van Winkle on stage) had requested a funeral at another church for his fellow actor and friend, George Holland. The priest refused, subscribing to a common belief of the time that actors lived loose lives and were unworthy of Christian burial, and suggested that “the little church around the corner” might be more hospitable. And so it was. To this day the church maintains close ties to the theater community. Made of brick and timber, this architectural gem is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the city’s landmarked properties.

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