When I travel to New York City, I like to stay in one of the guest rooms at General Seminary down in Chelsea. The twin bed sheets are polyester and the bathroom is down the hall, but at $75 a night it may be the best deal in Manhattan. After spending at least that much on sushi and a theater ticket, I am mollified by walking up three flights of stairs to my humble lodgings.
An added bonus of staying at General is having access to the grounds, which are tended by a seminary horticulturist. The old quadrangle is surrounded on all sides by brownstone buildings designed in the early 1800s. Many of them are festooned with ivy, including the Chapel of the Good Shepherd, built in 1888. The last time I was there was exam week in December. My room key came with an invitation to use the oratory in Kohne Hall, open 24 hours a day. One early Saturday evening I decided to find it, and set off around the quadrangle with a map in my hand.