SAINT LUCY in Astoria

There’s a warehouse on 42nd Street near 19th Avenue, a block from the old Steinway Mansion, with a curious shrine to St. Lucy, a 4th-Century martyr killed by a Roman Empire persecution, whose feast day is December 13th and is remembered by festivals in Sweden and Italy.

Lucy is usually depicted holding a chalice containing two eyes. Legend has it that the Roman emperor, Diocletian, put her eyes out in the torture that was visited upon Christians in the empire revered as the pinnacle of civilization at the time, but her sight was later miraculously restored before her death: she is patron saint for those with eye trouble. Her name comes from the Latin term for “light.” What she’s doing on 42nd Street, only she can tell you.


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