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 provides a calm and quiet refuge in the heart of buzzy Midtown. Despite the throngs of tourists (the cathedral receives more than 5½ million visitors annually) and ongoing renovations.
The church dates back to 1858–79 and over has been undergoing an extensive $177 million rehabilitation project that is expected to finally be completed in December of 2015. The cathedral remains open during renovations: the Fifth Avenue facade was finished in December 2014, and the stone faces of the 80-foot spires that tower above 5th Avenue have been cleaned and caulked and the copper crosses that crown them polished. Inside, there might still be some scaffolding but try to get a glimpse of the organ
loft and the famous rose window (considered stained-glass artist Charles Connick's greatest work). Also 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 the ornately carved bronze double doors on your way in and out: each weighs 9,200 pounds and features sculptures of saints.
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).