Fordham Notes: A Tell-all Book About an Iconic New York Landmark

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Tell-all Book About an Iconic New York Landmark

Star secrets. High-level office politics. Overpaid Divas and a boy soprano who grew up to be head of a crime ring. Sound like the ingredients for a quirky character-driven potboiler paperback?

Fordham University Press has just published Fifth Avenue Famous: The Extraordinary Story of Music at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, by Salvatore Basile. The author, a professional musician and music historian who has been a soloist and cantor at the Cathedral for a decade, tells the back story of the choir in the city’s most famous Cathedral, and the cast of colorful characters that have been part of its history.

The book details the history of music in the cathedral since its opening in 1879, including its two “golden eras” where church music was a major high society event with its own stars, gala performances and press coverage.

Basile also details the musical likes and dislikes of various Cardinals and Archbishops. While Terrence Cardinal Cooke (1968-83) valued music as a tool of interfaith understanding, says Basile, Edward Cardinal Egan was a pianist, opera lover and former choirboy who took a personal interest in the planning of the Cathedral’s music.

The book's foreward was written by Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York.

You can hear more about this book and pick up a copy at a book launch tonight, Thursday May 13, at Fordham's Lincoln Center campus in the 12th Floor Lounge on at 6 p.m. RSVP to


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