History buffs need to visit these stunning NYC churches! Not only are they stunning buildings, but each holds an interesting tale to be told!
Trinity Church Wall Street can be found nestled into New York City’s downtown district and dates all the way back to 1683. This Neo-Gothic church is best known for its adjacent cemetery which holds famous Founding Fathers such as Alexander Hamilton from Broadway’s hit musical show ‘Hamilton’.
St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church
Established in 1785, St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Parish in New York State was one of the earliest examples of Roman Catholic architecture in New York State and remains a NYC Individual Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton often visited this spiritual home; Saint Elizabeth Ann would pray before its painting of Crucifixion hanging above its altar and would frequent praying before its painting of Crucifixion hanging above its altar. Today’s church, designed by Thomas Thomas and John R. Hagarty in 1836 is an outstanding example of Greek Revival architecture featuring hallmark features like monumental hex-style Ionic portico and massive pediment pediments reminiscent of this style.
Church has long been at the heart of community service and social activism. Most recently, it served as host for Father Mychal Judge’s memorial service – first identified victim from September 11 attacks – as well as staging area and distribution point for relief supplies after attack.
St. Francis Xavier Church
EverGreene worked closely with church architects and immigrant artisans to design this significant Neo-Baroque work of art dating back to 1878, built by immigrant craftsmen under Patrick Keeley’s design and boasting 47 murals and 35 plaster statues, marble furnishings, marble Kilgen gallery organ, as well as 47 murals by Patrick Keeley himself. EverGreene developed conservation treatments designed to preserve and restore these artifacts for EverGreene to manage.
The parish also hosts a soup kitchen in its basement, where volunteers serve meals to the poor and homeless every Sunday. According to its pastor, it’s “proudly Catholic” yet open and inclusive for people of all faiths.
But the church’s AIDS memorial has generated considerable debate, drawing criticism from conservative commentators like Tucker Carlson as an attempt to replace God with political orthodoxy, while evangelical author Eric Metaxas likened it to Nazi usurpation of religion. To address these allegations, they have relocated the memorial closer to the altar for greater visibility.
Church of St. Jean Baptiste
As an avid student of New York City history and architecture, you know there’s something special about houses of worship. These iconic landmarks hold secrets and insights sure to enchant even secular readers while providing a place of respite from urban living.
St. Jean Baptiste Catholic Church stands out in Lenox Hill’s distinctive landscape as one of New York City’s oldest Catholic structures, founded in 1882 and serving the French-Canadian immigrant population on the Upper East Side until 1957.
Financier Thomas Fortune Ryan funded the church’s construction, designed by Nicholas Serracino. Serracino integrated elements from Italian Renaissance and Classical Revival architecture into his elegant design for this magnificent structure with its magnificent four-story dome topped by stained glass windows that rival those found at Chartres and Sainte-Chapelle – drawing both worshipers who appreciate religious art as well as tourists looking to witness its architectural marvels.
Cathedral Basilica of St. James
Since 1822, St. James Church in Downtown Brooklyn and Vinegar Hill has been part of the Diocese of Brooklyn and today serves as its cathedral church. Due to its location near commercial areas such as Vinegar Hill and Downtown Brooklyn, its 12 p.m. weekday Mass attracts both office workers taking lunch breaks as well as longtime parishioners.
The first church of Brooklyn was a simple clapboard building with gray shingles and an ornate belfry, while its current building dates back to 1884-5 and was expanded by Ralph Adams Cram in 1924. Pope John Paul II granted Brooklyn Cathedral Basilica status in 1982, and its crest features crowns representing each diocese of Brooklyn that comprise its Diocese.
St. James Church stands as an oasis of acceptance in a time where division appears to be the norm. Andrea Williams has been attending St. James for 15 years, calling it a place she feels at home in.