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New York City Sights

St. Patrick's Cathedral

  • 5th Ave. Map It
  • Midtown East
  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

Updated 02/24/2014

Fodor's Review

This Gothic edifice—the largest Catholic cathedral in the United States, seating approximately 2,400 people—is among Manhattan's most striking churches, with its double spires topping out at 330 feet. St. Pat's, as locals call it, holds a special place in the hearts of many New Yorkers and offers a calm and quiet refuge in the heart of buzzy midtown... despite the throngs of tourists (the cathedral receives more than 5.5 million visitors annually) and ongoing renovations.

The

church dates back to 1858–79 and has begun to show its age. Hence, the cocoon of scaffolding, inside and out, as it undergoes an extensive $177 million rehabilitation project. The cathedral is open during renovations, and is slowly revealing its shiny new-old self: the stone faces of the spires that tower above 5th Avenue have been cleaned and caulked and the copper crosses that crown them polished. Interior scaffolding is constantly on the move as work progresses but if you're lucky, you can catch a glimpse of the organ loft and the famous rose window (considered stained-glass artist Charles Connick's greatest work). You can still check out the statues in the alcoves around the nave, including a modern depiction of the first American-born saint, Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton. Don't miss a highlight in your rush to enter or leave; the ornately carved bronze double doors, each weighing 9,200 pounds and featuring sculptures of saints, underwent a painstaking, three-month restoration that cost about $500,000.

The church's Pieta sculpture is three times larger than the Pieta in St. Peter's Rome. Construction does not interfere with daily masses or the free guided tours held at 10 am most days (call ahead to confirm).

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Sight Information

Address:

5th Ave., between E. 50th and E. 51st Sts., New York, New York, 10022, United States

Map It

Phone:

212-753–2261-rectory

Sight Details:

  • Daily 6:30 am–8:45 pm

Updated 02/24/2014

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Fodorite Reviews

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Feb 10, 2010

St. Patrick's Cathedral Review

Located near Rockefeller Center, and along Fifth Avenue it is easy to stop in and visit this beautiful church. Many people walk by take a picture and then walk along without going in. It's incredibly tranquil within the Church and it's easy to forget the busy streets outside.

By Jessie

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Nov 19, 2005

Wow

One of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. I'm not Catholic, but I was DEFINITELY impressed.

By Paula

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Jul 18, 2005

Spectacular Stained Glass Windows

The interior of this cathedral is breathtaking, especially the stained glass windows. It is very close to Rockefeller Center and worth at least a short stop. While cooler than the outside in summer, however, it is not air-conditioned.

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