Saturday, July 19, 2014

‘Intendants of the Building’

A mid-summer announcement from the Grand Lodge of New York, F&AM. Masonic Hall, the headquarters in Manhattan, will undergo some big changes, and it is time to say goodbye to a few familiar, beloved lodge meeting spaces.

I KNEW HIM WHEN—Happy times in the American Room include the Public Apron Presentation to then RW Bro. Bill Thomas, Grand Treasurer of the Grand Lodge of New York in September  2010. The entire 19th floor of Masonic Hall is slated for conversion to commercial rental property to enhance revenue for Grand Lodge. Here, Bill, now Grand Master, and wife Susan make their exit at the end of the night.

From the Board of Trustees
of the Masonic Hall and Home

As many of you have heard and as mentioned during our Grand Master’s Message on St. John’s Day Weekend, we have embarked on a major renovation project at the Masonic Hall in New York City. The project will include providing air conditioning to all the eleven lodge rooms, converting the Jacobean Room on the eighth floor and the French Ionic Room on the tenth floor to very elegant collation rooms and substantial alterations to the second floor banquet room to better serve the lodges, daytime tenants of the facilities, and for outside users. We will be converting the 19th floor to commercial space after the changes have been made on the other floors.

ROSE CIRCLE THINKINGOther American Room memories include the April 2008 Rose Circle Research Foundation conference, an amazing, mind-roasting day of enlightenment. Our speakers, from left: Michael A. Evans, Cliff Jacobs, Steve Vitale, Chic Cicero, Tabatha Cicero, who killed by the way, showing the audience never-before-seen A.E. Waite drawn tarot images; and Henry Marx.

The reasons are many including:

1. Providing air conditioning for those lodges who wish to conduct meetings and degree work in the summer months and even for those installations in June when it can get uncomfortably warm.

2. Provide more elegant collation rooms for special lodge social events, presentations, ladies’ nights, table lodges and training sessions.

Courtesy Bill Thomas
The Jacobean Room on eight.

3. Improve the second floor for the daytime seminars which were held 112 times last year. The improvements include up-to-date audio, data, and video capabilities.

4. The pantries serving the three floors will have full services including hot water heaters, refrigerators, ice makers, dishwashers, food warmers, sinks and cabinets for storage. For those who use Masonic Hall for their meetings and collations.

5. We wish to make better use of our facilities. Our lodge rooms are currently used less than 50 percent of the time.

FRENCH IONIC INSPIRATIONMany warm memories of the French Ionic Room involve years of Communications of The American Lodge of Research. Shown here are then Worshipful Master Bill Thomas and Livingston Library Executive Director Tom Savini on October 29, 2008, the night the library's newly acquired facsimile of the Chinon Parchment and other Vatican documents pertaining to the Knights Templar were shown to the brethren. It is a gorgeous room, vibrant with color and texture.

6. By increasing the use of the rooms by non-masons, we can offset the continual cost increases we have had over the past decade. Our goal is to stabilize the costs to our lodges.

7. By having more commercial space available, we can continue our contributions for many of the programs and projects sponsored by the Board of Trustees such as Camp Turk, Empire State Mason magazine, the Livingston Library, the Masonic Care Community, Tompkins Chapel renovations, educational assistance, etc.

Some have expressed concerns, which need to be clarified: We are not increasing the rates for those lodges being moved from the 19th floor. It is our strong hope that the costs for second floor as well as the eighth and ninth floor collation rooms will remain at the current rates through next year. The 19th floor will still be available until January 1,
2015 so that it can be used for December functions. The current yearly rates for the lodge rooms are good for all 12 months. No lodge will be moved to accommodate an outside user, and if we would desire to make such a change, we will seek the lodges’ full consent. We expect all the work for the collation and pantry rooms to be done by September 15. The air conditioning will be in place before the cooling season in March of 2015.

We are excited about these changes and feel that they will have a dramatic impact on our Masonic Hall.

RW Griffith Jones, III
Trustees of the Masonic Hall and Home

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