St. Patrick's Cathedral Highlights | TopView

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Location: 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral has a story that mirrors that of New York City itself. With its conception, St. Patrick’s Cathedral NYC sought to affirm religious freedom and tolerance for all. Even its construction evoked a democratic spirit, paid for by the contributions of thousands of poor immigrants as well as the largesse of 103 prominent citizens, who each pledged $1,000 each. St. Patrick’s Cathedral still stands for as proof of the old adage that a cathedral is not built by just one generation, but rather it is like an ongoing conversation that links past, present and future generations.

History of St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Opened in 1879, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the most iconic and beautiful buildings in New York.  A decorated Neo-Gothic-style Roman Catholic cathedral, it is the seat of the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, located directly across from Rockefeller Center on the east side of Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan between 50th and 51st Streets. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is widely considered to be one of the most prominent symbols of Roman Catholicism in New York City and throughout the United States. As the largest cathedral in all of North America, St. Patrick’s Cathedral New York can accommodate up to 3,000 visitors!

The cornerstone of St. Patrick’s Cathedral New York was laid in 1858, a time at which present-day Midtown Manhattan was located farther north of the most populated NYC. 150 years ago, Archbishop John Hughes announced to build the “new” St. Patrick’s Cathedral in a ceremony at Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral (also worth a visit if you are down in Nolita.) Work began in 1858 but was halted during the Civil War and resumed in 1865.

Neither the bloodshed of the Civil War nor the resultant lack of manpower or funds would derail the ultimate fulfillment of Hughes’ dream and architect, James Renwick’s (the same architect who designed the Smithsonian Institution Building in Washington, DC) bold plan. The spires were added in 1888, and at 329 feet and 6 inches (100.4 meters) were the tallest structures in New York City and the second highest in the United States. And, in 1976, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and its associated buildings were officially declared to be a National Historic Landmark.

Touring St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a wonderful opportunity to come to a deeper understanding of the architecture, history, and spirit of this great Cathedral. They have a downloadable smartphone app that is very informative that will add to your experience. Some of the artworks you can view include The Pietà, sculpted by William Ordway Partridge, which is three times larger than Michelangelo's Pietà. The Cathedral's Stations of the Cross won an 1893 artistry prize at Chicago's World's Columbian Exposition. Commemorating his visit to the city in 1979, Pope John Paul II's bust is in the rear of the Cathedral.

Visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Take advantage of an Uptown & Harlem Tour to explore more of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. A map of the Cathedral can be downloaded here. 

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This page was edited by Steven Thomas