Cathedral of St. John the Divine | TopView Sightseeing

Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Location: 1047 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025

Hundreds of thousands of people visit the Cathedral of St John the Divine, a gothic revival landmark warmly welcoming visitors from across the United States and around the world.

St. John the Divine NYC draws large crowds each year who seek to explore artwork by Keith Haring, beautiful 17th-century tapestries, stained-glass windows, a 9/11 memorial sculpture, gardens and even a few peacocks meander around the cathedral grounds. The Saint John the Divine hosts daily services, tours, concerts, and choral performances.

In a city of skyscrapers, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine NYC – said to be the world's largest cathedral – impresses with sheer size, towering over Amsterdam Avenue and extending a full block to Morningside Drive. The 120-year-old Cathedral still remains unfinished, earning it the endearing nickname of St. John the Unfinished. Even in its incomplete state, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine is considered to be the largest cathedral in the world. The Cathedral’s distinctive architecture is equally as impressive as its size, giving it a heightened claim to fame and making it a key monument in the history of its neighborhood and the city as a whole.

Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Designed by Heins and LaFarge, the seven apsidal chapels give a nod to the turning tides of American immigration at the turn of the century. Each chapel was built in a different national style and named for saints of different national origins. The chapels are also arranged geographically, with the Spanish-inflected Chapel of Saint James on the southside, proceeding through Italian, French, Eastern Mediterranean, British, and German chapels to the Scandinavian-style Chapel of Saint Ansgar on the northside.

Located on the western wall of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine is the Great Rose Window. The forty-feet diameter window is the third largest rose window in the world, comprised of more than 10,000 individual pieces of glass.

Shady trees, covered benches, and tranquil fountain welcome visitors to the Biblical Garden providing a place of refuge and reflection outside of the Cathedral walls. Even the plants in the garden reflect the Cathedral’s divine purpose, all of which are species mentioned within scripture. Guests can reference a guide to the various plantings located at the garden’s entrance. The tranquility of this garden is further heightened by the cross-shaped layout, central floral mosaic, and gothic-canopied seating areas that echo the Cathedral’s famous architecture.

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is a place of calm in a very busy city, no place more so than the Pulpit Lawn. This shaded, flower-bordered lawn is at the heart of the Cathedral’s 11.3-acre close and features a towering 40-foot-high gothic spire of carved Daytona stone. Each of the spires four sides bears a symbol of the four Evangelists: an eagle, a winged lion, a winged ox, and an angel.

The Peace Fountain is a 40-foot-high bronze sculpture created by Cathedral Artist-in-Residence Greg Wyatt to mark the 200th anniversary of the Diocese of New York in 1985. It depicts the conflict between good and evil. Above it, a depiction of the Archangel Michael embraces one of nine giraffes (said to be the most peaceful of creatures) after defeating Satan while below, a lion lies down with a lamb and on either side of the fountain’s spiraling base (inspired by the double-helix of DNA), moon- and sun-like faces look toward and away from Amsterdam Avenue.

Visit Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Getting to The Cathedral Church of St John the Divine couldn’t be easier! Just hop on our Uptown and Harlem route and hop off at Stop #21 right in front of the Cathedral—heavenly!

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This page was edited by Steven Thomas