The Majestic St. Patrick’s Cathedral of New York

Unraveling the Mysteries and Grandeur of this Iconic Religious Landmark

The Archbishop of New York sits over his flock from his cathedral church, St. Patrick’s. The sanctuary is the biggest Gothic Catholic church in the United States, and it can be found on Fifth Avenue just south of Rockefeller Center. More than five million people have come to see this New York City icon every year since it opened in 1879.

The 330-foot towers make it one of the city’s most impressive buildings. There are 7,855 pipes in the massive organ inside, in addition to numerous shrines and stained glass displays and a sitting capacity of 2,400. Visitors and worshippers equally are always invited to the daily services. Get the audio guide software for a self-paced journey.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City is one of the biggest churches in the United States and is often referred to as “America’s Parish Church.” To emphasize how big it is, know that it spans a full street in the heart of Manhattan. Specifically, the intersection of 5th and Madison Avenues or 50th and 51st Streets.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a sight to behold. You need to see it to believe it. Thousands of stained glass windows adorn its grand Neo-Gothic design, and its massive metal entryway and high platform are well-known landmarks.

From a historical viewpoint, it is the ultimate resting place of some of New York City’s most revered religious leaders and advocates for social justice. Several funeral masses for prominent American figures were also performed there. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is referenced in the famous song “California Dreamin'” from the 1960s, giving the city a position in pop culture.

The history of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC

New York City’s Catholic population was growing rapidly in the middle of the 19th century, prompting Archbishop John Hughes to propose the construction of a larger church. The construction, which started in 1858 and was finished in 1879, was financed by donations from both affluent and poor New York Catholics.

The history of St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC
The history of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC

The church is now the administrative center for the New York Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church. The church has served as both a place of prayer and a tourist attraction over the years.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is often mistaken for Old St. Patrick’s, also known as The Basilica of Saint Patrick the Old Cathedral. You can find Nolita’s Old St. Patrick’s on Mulberry Street. When it was constructed, it was the biggest Catholic cathedral in New York. In addition, the renowned American gangster movie The Godfather filmed a pivotal baptism sequence there. Even though it deserves a spot on your itinerary because of its own merits, St. Patrick’s Cathedral gets more attention from tourists than locals.

People’s activities within the church have evolved over time. Even though tours are free, it has recently become a popular engagement location. The location rental fee for a weekend here will run you at least $14,000. Interesting fact: in 1920, F. Scott Fitzgerald married Zelda Sayre, the future Mrs. Gatsby, in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

The cathedral has also played host to memorial services honoring some of New York City’s most famous residents. For example, Babe Ruth, Roger Maris, Billy Martin, “Salsa’s Queen,” aka Celia Cruz, and the late great Vince Lombardi, football coach, and Robert F. Kennedy.

The interior design of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC

The cathedral’s entrance doors, made of bronze, are significant. While weighing in at over 9,000 pounds, they can be unlocked with a single touch. (Don’t fear, they’re not hard to get into.) But don’t ignore them, either. The sights here are numerous. Several saints are represented on the doors:

The interior design of St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC
The interior design of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC

St. Kateri Tekakwitha, or the “lily of the Mohawks,” the very first Born American woman to be canonized by the Catholic Church; St. Elizabeth Seton, the “daughter of NY,” the first native-born US resident to be canonized by the Catholic Church; and St. Frances X Cabrini, the “mother of the immigrant,” who founded an organization for Italian immigrants in the late 1800s.

After entering, your eyes will be drawn to the High altar. The baldachino, a 57-foot-tall metal canopy, shines golden against the white marble pillars and ornate stained glass windows in the background. You will feel as though you have been transported from the hustle and bustle of New York City to a heavenly paradise.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral features a Pietร  artwork by William Ordway Partridge, completed in 1906. The Pietร  is a painting of Mary weeping over the dead corpse of Jesus. It’s off to the right and barely behind the primary altar. The size of Partridge’s artwork is comparable to that of Michaelangelo’s original, which is three times smaller.

What is the Mass, and can every visitor join the Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC?

Mass, a central part of the Catholic faith and devotion, has been held at this location for close to 150 years, and everyone is invited to participate. Turn off mobile phones and other electronics before entering the church.

St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC
St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC

When entering the building, it is traditional to remove hats as a sign of reverence. Parents with young children typically sit in the rear of the church, where there are no assigned seats in the aisles. If you follow the other people around you, you’ll know whether to sit or stand.

Attending and participating in Mass is open to people of all faiths, but only practicing Catholics may take communion. Those who do not practice Catholicism are welcome to receive a blessing instead of the communion wafer by crossing their arms over their chests. It takes about 45 minutes to perform the ceremony.


  1. What is the exact address of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC?
    5th Ave, New York, NY 10022, United States.
  2. What are the opening hours of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC?
    You can visit the St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC every day of the week from 6:30 AM to 8:45 PM.

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