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    St. Patrick Cathedral: what to see in the Catholic Cathedral of New York

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    Martí Micolau

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    Among the concrete and glass skyscrapers, the splendid one stands out for its beauty and magnificence St. Patrick's Cathedral. Located in the heart of New York and surrounded by tall, modern buildings, this late XNUMXth-century neo-Gothic church welcomes worshipers and tourists from all over the world every day.


    • Useful Information
      • Entry rules and timetables
    • The history of St. Patrick's Cathedral
    • The facade and the exteriors
    • What to see inside the St. Patrick's Cathedral
    • Where to sleep in the area

    Useful Information

    St. Patrick's Cathedral is located between 5th Avenue and 51st Street. It actually occupies an entire block, the one between 50th and 51st streets, and is the largest neo-Gothic Catholic church in the United States. The nearest metro stops are 5 Avenue / 53 Street for lines E and M or 47-50 Streets / Rockefeller Center Station for lines B, D, F, M.

    Entry rules and timetables

    - orari di apertura are from 6.30 to 20.45. Various masses are celebrated every day, both in the morning and in the afternoon. Some priests are available for confessions after morning mass on weekdays and Saturday afternoons. It is also not uncommon attend a concert since the musical events that take place in the church are many, both related to the choir and to the presence of the two magnificent organs. The main organ can be compared to a work of art with its 7855 pipes.

    The visit to the church is participation. It is possible to book a group guided tour inside the church (recommended offer of at least 5 dollars) or participate in the public guided tours at 9.30, without having to book. Public tours are subject to schedule changes and possible cancellations based on the period. You can find the calendar of days with guided tours without reservation on the official website. It is also possible to download a mobile application with an audio guide. Tours are generally in English.

    To orient yourself inside the cathedral you can take a look at this map.

    The history of St. Patrick's Cathedral

    At the beginning of the nineteenth century in the area where the cathedral stands today in all its magnificence, there was an orphanage run by French Trappist monks in exile. In the mid-nineteenth century the property passed to the diocese of New York and Archbishop John Joseph Hughes decided to build a Catholic church there. The Catholic community was very important in New York in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: Manhattan was in fact inhabited by many Italian emigrants and above all by Irish Catholics.

    In 1858 work began to build the new one St. Patrick's Church following the plans of the architect James Renwick. It was there first Gothic construction in the United States and the local community immediately welcomed it, contributing to its realization despite the poverty and the Civil War that raged in the neighboring states in those years. The imposing architecture with spiers was reminiscent of the magnificent churches that migrants had left behind in Europe.

    On 25 May 1879 the St. Patrick's Church came consecrated by Cardinal John McCloskey and from that moment it has become the symbol of faith and the reference point for the faithful from all over the world.

    The facade and the exteriors

    The cathedral is in French neo-Gothic style and is reminiscent of many churches in France. The peculiarity of this cathedral, however, is the proximity of the skyscrapers that surround it and dominate it in height. Unlike European churches, there is no square in front of the main entrance, on the contrary the entrance is up Fifth Avenue, one of the most chaotic and crowded streets in Manhattan.

    The facade is characterized by a 8 meter rose window in diameter and two bell towers with spiers whose height reaches 101 meters from street level. There are 19 bells. The external length of the church is 124 meters while it extends laterally for 53 meters.

    What to see inside the St. Patrick's Cathedral

    I bronze portals of the cathedral's main entrance are on Fifth Avenue and weigh over 4000 kg each. Being a Latin cross structure, the two side entrances overlook 51st street and 50th street respectively.

    There are three naves with cross vault separated by pillars and pointed arches. On the left and right aisles there are various chapels with splendid altars dedicated to the most important Catholic saints and I advise you to stop and calmly look at them one by one. Among these is the reliquary of the Our Lady of Czestochowa and the chapel dedicated to the first American saint, Saint Elizabeth Seton. A curiosity: the port of Livorno is depicted in a fresco in the chapel of Santa Elizabeth Seton since it was in the Tuscan maritime city that the saint converted to Catholicism.

    The main altar is in white marble. To the right of the altar is the Pulpit, the altar of the Our Lady of Guadalupe and the altar of Saint Teresa of Lisieux while on the left a statue of Saint Patrick, in addition to the Baptistery, the organ and the altar of Saint Joseph. Behind the apse you will be able to see the Lady Chapel, chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary consecrated at the beginning of the twentieth century. The statue of the Pietà and the Immaculate Conception are extremely suggestive.

    Under the altar is the crypt. The remains of Archbishop John Joseph Hughes are kept in the crypt, as well as the tombs of all the archbishops of New York. Light penetrates through the glazed windows. These polychrome stained glass windows they are the work of glass masters from France, England and the city of Boston in the United States.

    If you want to add something extra to your visit, and go a little deeper into exploring the cathedral and its history, you can consider this tour con audioguida (also in Spanish) in which the recorded narrator will be that of Cardinal Timothy Dolan himself, who will guide you to discover Saint Patrick.

    St. Patrick's Tower

    Among the attractions close to the Cathedral of St. interior of this magnificent church.

    Where to sleep in the area

    If you want to look for a hotel solution near the St. Patrick Cathedral, I suggest you take a look at our article on where to sleep in New York and in particular the section dedicated to accommodation in Times Square. For more general advice on staying overnight in the city, I refer you to our dedicated page:

    Our tips on accommodation in New York

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