The Three Degrees of Glory in New York City

And again we bear record—for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony we give, concerning the three degrees of glory in New York City:

The first and greatest kingdom is the celestial, or in other words, Manhattan.

These are they who received the high salaries of law firms and investment banks.

These are they who have overcome by faith the lousy housing market.

These are they into whose hands the Father has given an understanding of Craigs List.

They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of the locations of no-broker’s fee apartments;

Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether rent control, or rent stabilization.

These are they with ten-minute walking commutes and twenty-four-hour doormen.

These shall dwell in the presence of Zabars and Citarella forever and ever.

These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun.

(And to enter into the highest degree of glory of the celestial kingdom, which is the Upper East Side, a man must enter into investment banking, and persevere therein until he is crowned as a Managing Director).

And again, we saw the terrestrial world, and behold and lo, these are they who are of the terrestrial, or in other words, Brooklyn, whose glory differs from that of the celestial, even as that of the moon differs from the sun in the firmament.

Behold, these are they who died without law;

Who received not the wisdom of Craig’s List in the flesh, but after they had already placed a deposit.

These are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of realtors.

Wherefore, they must needs suffer with a 718 area code.

These are they with thirty-minute subway commutes into midtown.

These are they who receive of the glory of New York, but not of its fulness. These are they who may eat pizza at Grimaldi’s in Dumbo, but who receive not of Le Bernadin and Jean Georges.

Wherefore, they are bodies terrestrial, and not bodies celestial, and differ in glory as the moon differs from the sun.

And again, we saw the glory of the telestial, or in other words, Bronx, which glory is that of the lesser, even as the glory of the stars differs from that of the glory of the moon in the firmament.

These are they who received not Craigs List before their deposit, nor after.

These are they who must commute on the cross Bronx expressway.

These are they who are thrust down to hell.

These are they who shall not be redeemed from the devil until the last resurrection, when Grand Concourse Avenue finally recovers from the damage done by Robert Moses.

These are they who receive not of the fulness of New York, and receive only limited ministration through the Italian food on Arthur Avenue.

And the glory of the celestial is one, even Manhattan, as the glory of the sun is one.

And the glory of the terrestrial is one, even Brooklyn, as the glory of the moon is one.

And the glory of the telestial, even Bronx, is one, even as the glory of the stars is one; for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world;

(For behold, some may live in Riverdale, which isn’t such a bad neighborhood, though the commute is a pain).

But behold, a limited number will be cast into outer darkness forever, and there suffer endless torment.

Which outer darkness is known as New Jersey . . .

27 comments for “The Three Degrees of Glory in New York City

  1. Rusty
    August 8, 2004 at 1:40 am

    Yeah, well Brooklyn is good enough for me. I don’t need your Chelsea flea market, your Guggenheim, or your Magnolia Bakery. It’s just butter and flour.

    You act happy on the balcony of your TriBeCa loft, but you know you’ve never lost your craving for Smith Street. Hey, it’s still there, everyone is down here, you’re free to stop by any time. I had a taste of Manhattan. Sure it’s sweet, but you can’t seriously think I would forsake my Prospect Park, my Coney Island, and my Junior’s.

    You heed their prophesies about the Lower East Side and sacrifice everything to invest there. I don’t SEE any potential there. You are all just blind sheep.

  2. August 8, 2004 at 1:45 am

    Lol. I always imagined New Jersey was a horrible place until I lived in Basking Ridge for a year and a half.

    I noticed no mention of White Plains, Dobbs Ferry, Scarsdale, etc. Are these terrestrial or telestial? Maybe as a whole Westchester County pertains to one particular degree of glory? Just curious. :)

  3. August 8, 2004 at 1:59 am

    This is kind of funny, and rather interesting, especially as I keep reading Celibate in the City with her housing issues right now.

    BTW, what is really interesting is the perspective one gets from being in California, where they see New York as a Narrow and Specious Building, where the surf is never up, and the rain falleth often.

    Or Texas, where we count on airlines to bear us up on (American) Eagle wings to places we would like to go, while allowing us work habits wherein we know our childrens faces and see them often.

  4. August 8, 2004 at 2:23 am

    BTW, for a perspective of one who is working out their housing salvation with fear and trembling …

  5. Maren
    August 8, 2004 at 9:35 am

    I wonder also where Queens falls in. I am moving from Queens to Brooklyn next week, so am I moving up or down? And, by the way, I found my apartment on Craigs List. I chose Brooklyn because I work there. Maybe that means forever I will be without the glory of Manhattan.

  6. Rusty
    August 8, 2004 at 10:19 am

    Trust me, you don’t NEED Manhattan, with all their self-righteousness. At least we have fun in Brooklyn. Like the sign entering Brooklyn from Queens says, “Believe the Hype.”

  7. Ian R
    August 8, 2004 at 10:47 am

    “Or Texas, where we count on airlines to bear us up on (American) Eagle wings to places we would like to go, while allowing us work habits wherein we know our childrens faces and see them often.”

    My thoughts exactly! We need to write one on States…Texas as the Celestial degree, CA as the Terrestrial, and Utah as the Telestial.

    (Sorry Arizona but you are basically a mix of Utah and CA and thus exist in the doctrinally murky area of transition between the Glories)

  8. August 8, 2004 at 5:42 pm

    very nice, Kaimi.

  9. Maren
    August 8, 2004 at 8:37 pm

    Thanks, Rusty! I am excited to become part of Brooklyn. Let the self-righteous Manhattanites pay outrageous prices for their closets that they call studio’s, while we pay half as much for normal size apartments!

  10. Bryce I
    August 8, 2004 at 11:49 pm

    Just wait until the RNC — Manhattan will be more like the ninth circle of hell (sorry — couldn’t make “outer darkness” work. Dante does punishment so much better (actually, I don’t know Dante well enough to assign the appropriate level — ninth just sounded good)).

    Manhattan does have a pretty nifty little temple now, though.

  11. Bryce I
    August 9, 2004 at 12:24 am

    Oops, didn’t see NJ=outer darkness there.

    danithew, Westchester has no neat and tidy analogue in LDS theology. It used to be something like the place where you went to pursue eternal increase, after you realized that you didn’t want to raise your kids in the city. Alas, it has now become more of a mythical land of milk and honey now inhabited only by greybeards, who bought in the late 60s/early 70s and medical residents who aren’t going to be there long.

    I grew up in Westchester, but was cured of my NY-centric ways sometime during my mission (although I still think of Tokyo as a small town). Nice place to visit (travel tip: if you’re going to the Statue of Liberty by car, it’s probabaly best to go from the Jersey side instead of paying $33.00 for the first hour of parking, and the Bronx Zoo is free on Wednesdays) but I wouldn’t want to live there now. Fortunately, my dad hasn’t retired yet, so we still have a reason to go and a place to stay.

  12. August 9, 2004 at 11:17 am

    Having recently done some work in Jersey, I can testify to the truthfulness of the Outer Darkeness designation.

  13. August 9, 2004 at 12:08 pm

    It all depends what part of New Jersey you are talking about. Some parts of Jersey are actually very beautiful (very green, lots of trees, nice communities, etc.) and others are “ghetto fabulous” so to speak. I do recall some Utah relatives being rather scandalized by bum behavior they witnessed at Newark airport.

    I think New Jersey originally developed its reputation as a site for toxic waste dumps, but during the short period of time I was there I never came across any leaky metal barrels on the side of the road.

  14. Bryce I
    August 9, 2004 at 2:39 pm

    New Jersey does have some nice and beautiful parts. Unfortunately, few of them are visible from the New Jersey Turnpike, which is where most visitors to the state view it from, stuck in traffic.

    And to be honest, there are parts of the Turnpike which stink. I mean literally stink. If you’ve ever driven it, you know what I’m talking about. My daughters (age 6 and 3) both thought my son (age 1.5) had a messy diaper as soon as we hit it.

    Plus, the outline of a state does look like an armpit :)

  15. JL
    August 10, 2004 at 3:40 pm

    Well, I’m downgrading from Manhattan to Brooklyn, I have sinned. I have not received the word from the financial district. I use Craigs’ List but cannot uphold the rigor of employment letters, credit checks and salary minimums required to enter the celestial sphere. I’m joining my fellow 20-somethings who have yet to taste the ‘moderate income’ fruit of NYC. [To qualify for affordable housing “moderate income” is 50-100K per year.]

    However, my commute to Midtown is still 20 minutes because I lived waaaay uptown in Harlem. I’ll miss my biscuits and grits (really, I’m southern). DO NOT believe the hype about Sylvia’s. Her food is only mediocre and way over-priced(they didn’t even serve black-eyed peas on New Years Day!!!). If you are interested in excellent soul food for less than $10 a plate send me an email.

    For those who have been following my tale of woe, the celibate is no longer homeless in the city. Woo-Hoo!!

  16. Kaimi
    August 10, 2004 at 5:45 pm


    I’m happy to hear that you managed to avoid being cast into outer darkness. The telestial kingdom isn’t so bad. Grimaldi’s pizza is nice. The Middle Eastern food on Atlantic Avenue is great. And Clark’s Diner on Clark Street (Brooklyn Heights) makes a very tasty bowl of Yankee Bean soup.

    You should be fine, as long as you don’t start tawking about wawking the dawg.

  17. VeritasLiberat
    August 10, 2004 at 10:56 pm

    “It all depends what part of New Jersey you are talking about. Some parts of Jersey are actually very beautiful (very green, lots of trees, nice communities, etc.)”

    Yes! I own a little house on 1.5 acres in one of those parts (Whitehouse, Hunterdon County). Tree-abundant, vegetable-growing, katydids-singing, dark-night-sky, leave-your-car-unlocked small town goodness, yet less than an hour away from the sights of NYC. (I currently work in Basking Ridge, Somerset County, which is lovely but has insane housing prices.)

    Actually, though, I’m not sure there IS a New Jersey, really. The west side of the state is just Pennsylvania with better Italian food, and the northeastern side is what happened when New York City metastatized.

  18. greenfrog
    August 10, 2004 at 11:10 pm

    My wife grew up in Short Hills, NJ, and tells me that as a teenager, her concept of hell was getting to the WTC train station two minutes after the last train for the night left for NJ.

  19. October 25, 2004 at 2:38 am

    I happen to be one of the privileged to live in the gleaming white Executive Towers on the Grand Concourse and 165th St., equipped with two fountains in double lobbies, statuary, terrazo floors, parking, dry cleaning, beautiful landscaping, private driveway and a twenty four hour doorman. My apartament is equipped with central air conditioning and a terrace overlooking the Manhattan skyline, Hudson river and New Jersey. Our complex and some of the surrounding doorman buildings are far superior to the smaller overpriced dwellings in manhattan. Some which are common, old law, walk up tenemant buildings with no lobbies, boasting trash cans near the main entrance. As for culture, our next door neighbor is the Bronx Museum of the Arts which attracts many patrons from your beloved borough. Further south are trendy galleries and cafes in the new SOBRO which the Times regards as the new SoHo with all the profesionals who hopped over harlem and landed Bronx lofts and brownstones. As for the Grand Concourse it is making a comeback. Being that the Grand Concourse has the largest collection of Art-Deco buildings in America, it has been deemed a special historic preservation district. The museum is expanding into a new wing and the old wing will be torn down to install a luxury high-rise similar in scale to our complex. Our park (Joyce Kilmer) and its lovely fountain has received a beautiful facelift and several area buildings have turned co-op. The Grand Concourse is on the rise, with this development the value of our home is rapidly skyrocketing in the New York market and will continue to grow with the coming Terminal Market, waterfront park, and hotel.

  20. October 25, 2004 at 2:53 am

    Moving up or down has nothing to do with location.
    It has everything to do with the luxuries offered by your accomodations. I think that I would shoot myself if I had to live in a cockroach infested tenemant studio on the upper east side of Manhattan or the Bronx. And I would despise to live in a dreadful ranch or split level in Jersey next to the Johnsons who boast that they are ” of the fairlawn Johnsons. North of the tire recycling center”.

  21. danithew
    June 16, 2005 at 12:34 pm

    Late tomorrow night (Friday) Diane and I will be getting on a plane. The next morning we will be moving into the celestial kingdom. As usual I’m tryng to get a slew of research papers completed for a very tight deadline and it might take some time for us to settle in … but we look forward to meeting some of ya’ll eventually.

  22. danithew
    June 16, 2005 at 12:45 pm

    Eventually soon I mean … I think we’re going to try and attend Manhattan 2nd ward on the 19th. Anyone here in that ward by any chance? Jus’ curious.

  23. JWL
    June 16, 2005 at 2:21 pm

    Bloggers live on the artsy, intellectual West Side of Manhattan, home of the Manhattan 1st Ward, not the snooty East Side where the Manhattan 2nd Ward lives (although some of my best friends …..). The Park Slope Ward in Brooklyn also appears to be an acceptable venue for bloggers. If your first name is Kaimipono you have to live in The Bronx.

  24. danithew
    June 16, 2005 at 3:05 pm

    I think we’re barely “technically” on the East Side, if that makes any sense …

  25. Kaimi
    June 16, 2005 at 3:25 pm


    That location sounds like it puts you in the Kingsbridge Second ward, in the Bronx. Hop on the 4 train, and take it up to Kingsbridge road. Sacrament starts at 9:30. We’ve got room for both you and Dianathew in primary. The cheese is on me.


  26. danithew
    June 16, 2005 at 5:03 pm

    Hey Kaimi … I just sent an email to your T&S email addy, with our actual address. Let me know if we are really in your ward.

  27. D. Fletcher
    June 16, 2005 at 5:19 pm

    I’ve been known to play the organ in the Manhattan Second Ward, on the special occasions when they ask me to do it (like this last Easter). I’m sure you’ll be very happy there. I myself live on the Far West Side (Riverside Drive and 112th Street).

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