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St. Patrick's Cathedral
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe St. Patrick’s Cathedral – officially Cathedral of St. Patrick – is a huge, Neo-Gothic, Roman Catholic church in the heart of New York City. Located between 50th Street and 51st Street on Fifth Avenue, it is one of the many major landmarks in Manhattan. It lies right next to another famous landmark in the city: Rockefeller Center. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of New York and also a local parish church.
HistoryPope Pius IX made the Diocese of New York an Archdiocese in 1850. Archbishop John Joseph Hughes declared his wish to build a brand new cathedral in 1853. The new building would replace the Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Midtown Manhattan. It was designed in Gothic Revival style. The first stone was laid in 1858 at a site that, at the time, was way outside the city. Because of its location, a certain distance from the populous areas of New York, the new cathedral was mocked and called ‘Hughes’ folly’. The Archbishop stuck with his gut though, firmly believing that one day this would be the heart of the city. Obviously, he was right and the building became the most magnificent Gothic cathedral in the New World. Not even the Civil War and the lack of work forces and money that came with it could stop Hughes from making his dream come true.
The cathedral was completed in 1878 and dominated all of Midtown Manhattan. Several additions were completed in the following decades, including the Lady Chapel, the spires, and the great organ. It became a National Historic Landmark of the United States in 1976.
ArchitectureThe building is 331 feet long and 174 feet wide; the spires are 331 feet tall. The cathedral is so large that it takes up an entire city block. Bordered by Madison Avenue, Fifth Avenue, 50th Street and 51st Street and made up of brick that are clad in marble, it has a capacity of 2,200 people.
The interior of St. Patrick’s Cathedral is marvelous, consisting of stained-glass windows, a gorgeous altar, two huge pipe organs, and works of art. The artworks include The Pieta , which was sculpted by William Partridge and is three times bigger than The Pieta by Michelangelo. Other highlights are the Stations of the Cross and the bust of Pope John Paul II. The Saint Elizabeth altar was designed by the Roman artist, Paolo Medici, while the Saint John the Baptist de la Salle altar was made by Dominic Borgia. There are a few more altars found in side chapels. The stained-glass windows are gorgeous and were made in Boston and by artists from England and France.
Visiting St. Patrick’s CathedralSt. Patrick’s Cathedral is a fine example of the American Gothic Revival style and can be visited every day from 6.30AM until 8.45PM. The cathedral’s gift shop is open daily from 8.30AM until 8PM. The cathedral is free to visit.
While the outside of the cathedral is spectacular and deserves some time of admiration, the building’s main highlights are found on the inside. You will see the first highlight before you even enter; the bronze doors weigh 9,200 pounds each and have holy men and women carved into their façades. After entering you will see the gift shop on your right.
Continue through the massive nave towards the Sanctuary in the middle of the cathedral. There you can see an oddity in a Roman Catholic church; there are two altars. On your left, now, you will see the Baptistery, designed by one of the most respected designer of the 19th century. The Baptistery is regarded as one of the most beautiful areas inside the cathedral.
At the far end of the building lie the Crypt and the Lady Chapel. The Crypt is where the remains of Archbishop Hughes, the man responsible for this amazing building, are located. The Lady Chapel is a popular place among parishioners and worshipers. There, you are asked not to take any photographs out of respect for people who are praying. It is like a mini-church with the cathedral.
The last highlight before you reach the gift shop is the Lady of Guadalupe painting and the Altar of the Sacred Heart. The Lady is the patroness of the Americas and is why this area receives the most visitors.
How to Get ThereLocated in the heart of Manhattan and next to Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is easily reached by bus, subway, or on foot. Bus lines that stop in the area are M1, M2, M3, and M4. By subway, you can get there via the 6 train to 51st Street and the E and F trains to Fifth Avenue.
Similar LandmarksOther great cathedrals in the world are the Notre-Dame de Paris, the Nidaros Cathedral, the Sagrada Familia, the Florence Cathedral, the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, and the Saint Basil’s Cathedral.
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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Feb 25, 2015