The Cathedral: Chronology

Original Plan

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1986
Philippe Petit performs Ascent on a high wire in the nave to musical accompaniment by Paul Winter and pianist Evelyn Crochet. Nobel Peace Price winner Bishop Desmond Tutu speaks at the Cathedral, calling for economic sanctions against the apartheid government of South Africa. Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko reads his work from the pulpit. Actor Robert DeNiro reads English translations. Consecration of the Altar for Peace in the nave, by master woodworker George Nakashima.

1987
Dedication of the memorial to the genocide of the Armenians by Zadik Zadikian. Memorial service for writer James Baldwin includes eulogies by Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka and William Styron. Summer silent film festival features musical accompaniment by Lee Erwin at the Great Organ.

1988
Artist-in-residence Forces of Nature, a dance company blending African and Caribbean traditions, presents a series of performances. Daniel Hoffman is named poet-in-residence.

1989
Interfaith observance of Anne Frank's 60th birthday. Thousands attend memorial service for choreographer Alvin Ailey. Bishop Moore retires and is succeeded by Richard Grein, 14th Bishop of New York.

1990
Vaclav Havel, playwright and president of the newly-liberated Czech Republic, is guest of honor at a gala concert. Big Bird and other Muppets pay tribute to puppeteer Jim Henson at his memorial service. Death of Canon West.

1991
Solemn memorial service remembers all who died in the Gulf War. Theater visionary Robert Wilson stages Grace for Grace.

1992
The Cathedral marks its centennial with an architectural competition calling for designs that explore connections between ecology and spirituality. Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava wins the competition with a design incorporating greenhouse-like structures to serve as north and south transepts and a glass-enclosed arboretum atop the nave. The New York Philharmonic Orchestra performs Benjamin Britten's War Requiem, inaugurating an annual tradition of performing a free Memorial Day concert at the Cathedral. The Archbishop of Canterbury dedicates the Compass Rose set in the floor of the Great Choir. The Compass Rose, official symbol of the worldwide Anglican Communion, was designed by Canon West.

1993
The National Religious Partnership for the Environment is established at the Cathedral. Financial problems halt construction of the southwest tower. Memorial service for Dizzy Gillespie is held.

Based on information from the Cathedral's Web Page