St. Patrick’s cathedral is the largest Gothic-style cathedral in the United States and seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. The Cathedral was designed in a Gothic revival style by James Renwick, a renowned 19th century American architect, who incorporated German, French and English Gothic elements in his design. Although the Cathedral opened its doors in 1879, it was not until 1888 that the two 100-metre high spires were completed. At the time, the 330-foot spires of the Cathedral were one of the most prominent features of the New York skyline. Since then, New York has changed dramatically, and the once-tall cathedral is now dwarfed by neighboring skyscrapers.
Work on the Cathedral was begun in 1858 by Archbishop John Hughes to replace the original St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is used today as a parish church in New York. Some Interesting facts:
- The Windows were made by renowned artists in Chartres, France; Birmingham, England and Boston Massachusetts.
- The great rose window is acknowledged to be the finest work designed by Charles Connick, the 20th century genius in stained glass window design.
- The Cathedral seats about 2,200 people.
- The exterior length is about 405 feet; the width is 274 feet.
- The spires rise 330 feet from street level.
- The architect was James Renwick, an American. The Lady Chapel was designed by another American, Charles Mathews.
- The St. Michael and St. Louis altar was designed by Tiffany and Company. The St. Elizabeth altar was designed by Paolo Medici of Rome.
- The Archbishops of New York are buried in a crypt under the high altar. Their honorary hats, called galeros, hang from the ceiling over their tombs.
- The Stations of the Cross are works of art which won first prize at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.
- The Pieta is three times larger than the Pieta in St. Peter’s, Rome.
- The Cathedral has three organs.
- Each year over 3 million people visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s cathedral holds about 2,200 people and has beautiful windows crafted in France, England and Boston, several alters designed by Tiffany and Co., and a solid bronze baldachin over the high altar. Eight archbishops are buried in St Patrick’s crypt, and funeral masses were held here for New York Yankees Babe Ruth and Billy Martin. Other famous funerals held at St. Patrick’s include football legend Vince Lombardi, singer Celia Cruz, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and many of 9/11’s fallen police and firefighters.
The Cathedral is located in the heart of Manhattan at one of the most prestigious locations on Fifth Avenue and 50th Street. St Patrick’s is directly across 5th Avenue from Rockefeller Center’s Atlas.