As a kid I used to be in the station wagon on the highway and when we would get to Waterbury Connecticut I would see a giant neon cross on top of a hill. I spent my whole life wondering what that was and then when I found out what it was,I Lomoed it up there one Saturday.
As a kid I used to be in the station wagon on the highway and when we would get to waterbury Connecticut I would see a giant neon cross on top of a hill. I spent my whole life wondering what that was and then when I found out what it was,I Lomoed it up there one Saturday.
As soon as I got to the hill I could see the houses in the area, all Italian-American 1930s construction … houses built by the residents, big side yards for growing grapes to make your own wine. Yard shrines to the Virgin Mary, Puerto Rican flags in all the windows. I knew this was a special place, all those Italians have gone on and left their homes to newer immigrants but one of those old Italians did something special and it is through the gates of holyland.
We parked, a nun came out of the convent to tell us (once she saw all my cameras) that it was ok to go in but she couldn’t be responsible if I was hurt and then she told us that it was in “disrepair”. WOW understatement. Mr. Greco came from Italy to America and in the 1950s decided that he needed to fight communism by building a holy land in America. He feared for his Eastern orthodox brothers kept from the church by the USSR so he wanted everyone to know the power of God. I bet he would be mad if he knew I was carrying a ZENIT E made in the evil godless empire. So anyways he and his friends built a miniature holy land out of plywood and plaster and recycled junk in the tradition of the Italian American yard shrine.
They built the giant cross (70 feet tall and electric), a HOLY LAND USA sign in the style of the Hollywood sign, and a chapel then they opened it up like an amusement park. I guess the idea was that people would be inspired to god then somehow take the fight to the commi’s, I’m not really sure. The guy got old, the place closed then the man died in the ’80s and the nuns who live in the convent watch for drunk teens but let lomographers in. It has just sort have been left like that since – they fixed the cross recently though, when I went there it was just magic.
To me this was the same excitement of being at the Eiffel tower or the Parthenon with all my Lomo cameras. My excitement was being in a place of history. This is one moment in time, a time machine to a place and time and special community. I could just picture the old Italian guys looking like my grandfather placing the statues and building the temple. Here are some pix and I suggest you go and see it for yourself, it is amazing.