NYC Famous Historical Churches

10 Famous Historical Churches in New York City

10 Famous Churches Well Worth a Visit in Manhattan & Brooklyn

All of these famous historical churches are located in New York City and all could be seen by visitors and tourists to New York in one day if traffic is not too bad. All these churches are notable for their architecture and for the many famous people who have visited and worshiped within their walls. All five houses of worship are popular tourist destinations and attractions in New York.

5 Famous Historical Churches in Lower Manhattan

These famous churches in New York City are all rich with historical and architectural significance and are popular tourist attractions and destinations in New York.

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan

14 E 51st St, New York, NY 10022

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a Roman Catholic Church located along the east side of Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st streets in midtown Manhattan. Construction of the 14th-century Gothic-style church began in 1858 but due to the Civil War and other problems, the church was not opened until 1879. It was worth the wait though because Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the most famous churches in the world and one of the largest in the United States with a seating capacity of 2,400.

The twin spires of St. Patrick’s are 330 feet tall, the rose window in the cathedral is 26 feet across and the pipe organs in the church contain more than 9,838 pipes. Requiem Masses were said at St. Patrick’s for famous people like Babe Ruth, Vince Lombardi, and United States Senator, and Presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy while special memorial masses were held at Saint Patrick’s for Joe DiMaggio, Andy Warhol, and William F. Buckley. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is open to the public and conducts tours for groups of ten or more during the week around the daily Mass schedule.

St Patrick's Cathedral
St Patrick’s Cathedral – famous churches in Manhattan

Middle Collegiate Church

112 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

Middle Collegiate Church is an iconic New York City landmark and one of the oldest congregations in the United States. Located in the East Village, between Second and Third Avenues, it was originally built in 1797 as a Dutch Reform Church. With its high ceilings, white facade, and two bell towers, this church stands out among other nearby buildings.

The church has seen many notable figures over its centuries-long history: from President James Monroe to Susan B. Anthony to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. It’s also been home to some of American Christianity’s most influential preachers—including founding pastor John H. Livingston and current Senior Pastor Jacqui Lewis—who have spread their message of love and acceptance throughout the city.

Church of the Transfiguration

The Little Church Around the Corner in Midtown Manhattan

1 E 29th St, New York, NY 10016

The Church of the Transfiguration or as it is also known as the Little Church Around the Corner is located in midtown Manhattan at One East 29th Street between Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue. The church was built in 1849 and has served as a famous haven for all people including those who were not welcomed in other churches and that is where the Church of the Transfiguration’s nickname came from.

When actor George Holland died in 1870 his friend Joseph Jefferson tried to have a funeral mass for him at another church but was rebuffed and told there was a little church around the corner that would do the mass. Jefferson proclaimed “God Bless the little church around the corner” and the name stuck, The Episcopal Actors Guild was founded at the church in 1923, and in 1973 the Church of the Transfiguration and its grounds including its lovely English garden was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in Upper Manhattan

1047 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025

The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine is located at 1047 Amsterdam Avenue between 110th West and 113th West streets in Upper Manhattan and is one of the largest churches in the world. Saint John the Divine is two football fields long and 17 stories high and the grounds contain a Biblical Garden with over 100 plants mentioned in the scriptures of the Bible and the famous Peace Fountain statue by Greg Wyatt. The Gothic-style church dates to 1892 and has seen almost continual construction and renovations since due to its massive size and its nickname is Saint John the Unfinished.

Riverside Church in New York City

490 Riverside Dr, New York, NY 10027

Riverside Church is located at 490 Riverside Drive between 120th and 122nd streets in the neighborhood of Harlem in Upper Manhattan, New York City. This Gothic-style church was built in 1927 and its 392-foot high bell tower makes Riverside Church the tallest church building in the United States and 26th tallest in the world.

The tower houses 74 bronze carillon bells including one huge bronze bell donated by John D. Rockefeller which is the heaviest such bell in the world and 2nd largest in the world. Riverside Church is an interdenominational church where many famous people have spoken about political issues such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, and even Fidel Castro. Riverside Church is a very famous and popular tourist destination in New York City.

Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Brooklyn

139 Saint Johns Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11217

St. John’s Episcopal Church is located at 9818 Fort Hamilton Parkway in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, New York. Saint John’s in Brooklyn is known as the Church of the Generals due to the large number of military officers who worshiped at the church while stationed at the Fort Hamilton Army Base. Such notables as General Robert E. Lee and General Stonewall Jackson attended service at St. John’s Episcopal Church and Stonewall Jackson was baptized here in 1849.

Famous Historical Churches in Lower Manhattan

These five famous churches in Lower Manhattan are all rich with historical and architectural significance.

All five of these famous historical churches are located in Lower Manhattan and all five can easily be seen in a day’s visit. Some of the most prominent and historically significant individuals in American history built and attended services at these churches. All five of these downtown Manhattan churches are well worth a visit.

St. Paul’s Chapel in New York

209 Broadway, New York, NY 10007

St. Paul’s Chapel is an Episcopal church located at Broadway and Fulton Streets at 209 Broadway. St. Paul’s dates back to 1766 and is the oldest church building still standing in New York City. George Washington had a designated pew and attended St. Paul’s on his inauguration day on April 30, 1789, and for the 2 years, NYC served as the nation’s capital attended services here.

The church is located opposite the east side of the World Trade Center site and served as a place of refuge after the horrific attacks on 9-11 as the church survived without even a broken window. St. Paul’s is a chapel of the much larger Trinity Church which is located a few blocks south.

St Pauls Chapel nyc

St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery

131 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003

St. Mark’s in the Bowery is an Episcopal church located at Second Ave and 10th Street at 131 E 10th St. in downtown Manhattan. Peter Stuyvesant the Governor of New Amsterdam purchased the land under St. Mark’s in 1651 and built a chapel there in 1660 and was buried on the site when he died in 1678. The Stuyvesant family donated the land to the Episcopal Church and the present-day church was built on the site in 1795.

Trinity Church Wall Street NYC

74 Trinity Pl, New York, NY 10006

Trinity Church is an Episcopal church located at Broadway and Wall St. at 79 Broadway in Lower Manhattan. The original church on this site was built in 1697. In 1754 King’s College which eventually became Columbia University was started at a building on the church’s grounds.

The present-day Trinity Church was completed in 1846 and is considered a classic Gothic Revival building and was made a National Historic Landmark by the Interior Department in 1976. The distinctive architecture stands out amongst the buildings of Wall St. Alexander Hamilton and Robert Fulton are two of the prominent people buried on the Trinity Church grounds.

Trinity Church NYC

John Street Methodist Church in Manhattan

44 John St, New York, NY 10038

John Street Church is a Methodist Church located at 44 John St. The first church on this site was dedicated in 1768 and originally called Wesley Chapel and is believed to be the oldest Methodist Society in the United States. The church was torn down and rebuilt in 1817 and then torn down again and rebuilt in 1841 which is the church on the grounds today. The John Street Church contains many Methodist relics and artifacts.

St. James Church in New York City

865 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10021

St. James Church is a Roman Catholic Church located at 32 James Street in Lower Manhattan. St. James was built in 1837 in Greek Revival style with classic Doric columns flanking the front entrance and is the second oldest Catholic building in NYC. Al Smith who served as New York Governor for four terms and ran for President on the Democratic ticket in 1928 was an altar boy at St. James.

Final Word

NYC is home to many historic churches with deep roots, each providing New Yorkers and visitors alike with a unique look into the city’s past. From the grand Gothic-style architecture of Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral to the intimate worship space of Middle Collegiate Church, each church has an inspiring story to tell. Whether you’re looking for a spiritual connection or just admiring the beautiful architecture, visiting these storied monuments will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

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