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St. Patrick's Cathedral

Location: 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022

St. Patrick's Cathedral is the largest Neo-Gothic-style Catholic cathedral in North America. The cathedral, which can accommodate 3,000 people, takes up a whole city block, between 50th and 51st streets, Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue, directly across the street from Rockefeller Center facing the Atlas Statue. 

In a ceremony at the Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Archbishop Hughes proposed to erect a Cathedral in New York that “may be worthy of our increasing numbers, intelligence, and wealth as a religious community” it was ridiculed as “Hughes’ Folly,” as the proposed, near-wilderness site was considered too far outside the city.

Archbishop Hughes, nonetheless, persisted in his daring vision of building the most beautiful Gothic Cathedral in the New World in what he believed would one day be “the heart of the city.” Designed by renowned architect James Renwick, Jr., designer of the Grace Church in New York and the Smithsonian Castle in Washington, DC, work began in 1858 but was halted during the Civil War and resumed in 1865.

Completed in 1878 and dedicated in 1879, its huge proportions dominated the midtown of that time. The spires rise 330 feet (100.6 meters) from street level and The Pietà, sculpted by William Ordway Partridge, is three times larger than Michelangelo's Pietà in Rome.