Located conveniently near Rockefeller Center along 5th Avenue, St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church is characterized by the “decorated Neo-Gothic” style of architecture. The Diocese of New York began in 1808, and it was then that Archbishop John Hughes announced plans for the new cathedral. After its construction ceased during the Civil War, the cathedral was completed in 1878 and officially dedicated a year later.
Today, however, the building is frequently open for tourists. The church also holds Sunday Masses and operates as a traditional house of worship. The goal of St. Patrick’s Cathedral is to spread and promote religious freedom and tolerance. In the cathedral’s initial days, thousands of poor immigrants and New Yorkers paid for its conception and construction in 1879.
St. Patrick’s is a popular site for weddings and funerals alike. The Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald married his wife Zelda at St. Patrick’s cathedral, for example, in 1920.
The cathedral’s exterior white edifice overlooks bustling 5th Avenue and gleams and catches sunlight at a distance. Its arches demonstrate intricate craftsmanship and attention to detail. Inside, gorgeous and vibrant stained glass windows that reach from the floor to the top of the chapel greet visitors. Light prayers and gospel rumble through speakers and infuses the church with spiritual sounds.
Visitors may choose to sit in the chapel rows and take in the vast space. Some opt to listen to a prayer or participate in a ceremony, such as lighting a candle in memory of a deceased loved one. Additionally, visitors have the option to pray at one of the altars dedicated to a beloved spirit.
A gift shop decorated with Christ figurines and cathedral souvenirs entices visitors to the side of the entrance. A separate gift shop, however, located to the side of the cathedral between 5th and Madison Avenues, also displays spiritual candles and keepsakes in its windows. Shoppers, enthusiasts, and spiritualists alike can bring home an relic that resonates with and reminds them of their experience.
The cathedral offers group-guided tours daily, though visitors and tourists must schedule them in advance.