NYC Best Religious Buildings Walking Tour (Self Guided), New York

New York is often defined by the word skyscraper. But this city also offers a beautiful collection of religious buildings. Each of these buildings feature spectacular architecture and design. Take this walking tour to explore the most famous religious buildings in New York.
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NYC Best Religious Buildings Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: NYC Best Religious Buildings Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » New York (See other walking tours in New York)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.0 Km or 4.3 Miles
Author: doris
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Temple Emanu-el
  • Central Synagogue
  • Saint Thomas Church
  • St. Patrick's Cathedral
  • St. Malachy's Church
  • Holy Cross Church
  • Grace Church
Temple Emanu-el

1) Temple Emanu-el

One of the most beautiful synagogues in the world, the Temple Emnu-el is also one of the largest Jewish houses of worship. It is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and serves the large and growing Jewish population of New York City.

At first, the Reform Jewish Emanu-el congregation consisting of German Jews worshiped in a temple on 42nd street in Manhattan. The temple became too small for accommodating the increasing number of worshipers. The location was also unsuitable because of the commercial activity in the street that made it difficult to focus on prayers. It was decided to relocate to a custom built large synagogue in a tranquil place that would meet the needs of the congregation.

Temple Emanu-el was built between 1927 and 1929. Its architectural style is medieval with Romanesque details. The limestone building resembles some of the great European cathedrals. The wheel like window found on the facade is a traditional Magen David or the six pointed Star of David. Inside the temple is a large sanctuary with the capacity to seat 2500 worshipers.

The temple also has a collection of Jewish religious objects from the 14th to the 20th centuries. Tours are conducted around the temple on week days.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Central Synagogue

2) Central Synagogue

Central Synagogue (Congregation Ahawath Chesed Shaar Hashomayim; Yiddish: צענטראל-סינאגאגע‎) is a Reform synagogue located at 652 Lexington Avenue, at the corner of East 55th Street in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. It was built in 1870–1872 and was designed by Henry Fernbach in the Moorish Revival style as a copy of Budapest's Dohány Street Synagogue.[6] It has been in continuous use by a congregation longer than any other in the state of New York, except Congregation Berith Sholom in Troy, New York and is among the oldest synagogue buildings still standing in the United States.

The building was designated a New York City landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1966[4] and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. It was then designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975.

On Wednesdays at 12:45 p.m. a docent conducts a free tour, which begins at the front entrance.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Saint Thomas Church

3) Saint Thomas Church

The Saint Thomas Church is an Episcopal parish church located in the heart of New York City. It is one of the few churches where the old Anglican choral tradition is still preserved.

The congregation of Saint Thomas Church worshiped in three buildings before the present structure was built. The church was raised between 1911 and 1916. Architects, Ralph Adams Cram and Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue designed the building in high Gothic style. It has plain limestone exteriors and sandstone interiors. Sculptor Lee Laurie designed the intricate stone work on the reredos. The stained glass windows were the finest work of English artist, James Hunphries Hogan of Powell and Sons (Whitefriars) Ltd. of London.

Music is an important part of worship and liturgy at the church. The design of the church offers excellent acoustics and there are three old organs and a new instrument added in 2008. The well known choir is supported by the St. Thomas choir school that was founded by the parish in 1919 and is one of four choir schools that still exist in the world. This choir performs the traditional Anglican Evensong, a 45 minute service of music by young boys between the ages of 8 and 13.
Sight description based on wikipedia
St. Patrick's Cathedral

4) St. Patrick's Cathedral (must see)

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York. Built of brick and clad in white marble, this is the largest Gothic style temple in the country. Centrally located – directly opposite the Rockefeller Center, it receives annually over 3 million visitors.

The current structure replaces an old St. Patrick’s Cathedral and is now used as a parish church. The Archdiocese of New York was created by Pope Pius IX in 1850. American architect James Renwick designed the building, as the seat of the Archbishop, in decorated geometric ecclesiastic Gothic style, popular in Europe between 1275 and 1400. Construction began in 1858 but stopped during the Civil War. Works resumed in 1865, seeing the cathedral completed in 1878 and dedicated in 1879. It has stained glass windows from France and England, as well as the Great Rose Window – the finest work of American stained glass artist Charles Connick, and three magnificent organs.

The cathedral holds daily masses so you can take the opportunity to go inside and admire the interior or just enjoy the peacefulness – either way you won't be disappointed. There is a gift shop selling books and religious items and visitors can check the schedule to attend one of the organ concerts frequently performed at the Cathedral.

Why You Should Visit:
Step into another world and revel in the atmosphere inside this historic building. Now that all of the renovations are complete you can get to enjoy the full beauty of the architecture.

If possible, try to attend a daily Mass with impressive organ music and solo vocalist. Also, on a Sunday afternoon, if lucky, you may happen upon a chorale concert which is nothing short of heavenly.
The armed NYPD officers outside ensure security, so you should be prepared for bag searches prior to entry.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 7am-8:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
St. Malachy's Church

5) St. Malachy's Church

The St. Malachy’s Church is better known in New York City as the Actor’s church. The theater district moved into the area in the year it was built and it became the place of worship of several well known actors and dancers till the 1960s.

The St. Malachy’s Catholic Church was built in 1920 based on the plans of well known ecclesiastical architect, Thomas J, Duff. An Actor’s Chapel was built under the main church where members of the theatrical community worshiped. It was also the venue of weddings and funerals of famous actors and dancers. Rev George Washington Moore who took over in 1976 was the most active among pastors of the church and he extended the services of the church to help the poor, the elderly and the homeless. He was given a Tony award for services to the parish. The church chimes play, ‘There’s no business like show business’ in honor of the many distinguished theatrical parishioners who worshiped at its pews.

Famous members of the congregation include Bob Hope, Ricardo Montalban, Rosalind Russell, Irene Dunne and Gregory Peck. Ceremonies of theatrical personalities that took place here include the marriage of Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Joan Crawford, the funeral of Rudolf Valentino and the baptism of Herb Shriner’s children.

Today the church offers community services called Encore to help the elderly residents of the parish. In 1991 extensive repairs were carried out to make it a comfortable and beautiful place to worship.
Holy Cross Church

6) Holy Cross Church

The Holy Cross Church is a Roman Catholic Church serving the Holy Cross Parish. Since its dedication, the church has worked with the government and community to improve the life and condition of the people living in the neighborhood.

Henry Engelbert designed the present building that houses the Holy Cross Church. It has an Italianate Gothic style with a red brick façade and two towers. The interiors show a combination of Georgian, classical, Romanesque and Byzantine styles. The nine stained glass windows were imported from Munich, and Louis Comfort Tiffany designed the mosaics below the Dome. Mass is celebrated and choral music and congregational hymns sung in both Spanish and English.

The church is also called Father Duffy’s church after its most popular pastor, Reverend Francis P. Duffy. He was decorated for serving as chaplain of the 69th New York regiment that fought in World War I. Holy Cross Church operates a food pantry that serves the poor and hungry and also offers a religious program called LAMP to provide counseling for parishioners and visitors. The church works in consonance with the local authorities to fight crime and drug trafficking in the neighborhood.
Grace Church

7) Grace Church

Grace Church is a historic parish church in Manhattan, New York City which is part of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. The church is located at 800-804 Broadway, at the corner of East 10th Street, where Broadway bends to the south-southeast, bringing it in alignment with the avenues in Manhattan's grid. Grace Church School and the church houses – which are now used by the school – are located to the east at 86-98 Fourth Avenue between East 10th and 12th Streets.

The church, which has been called "one of the city's greatest treasures", is a French Gothic Revival masterpiece designed by James Renwick, Jr., his first major commission. Grace Church is a National Historic Landmark designated for its architectural significance and place within the history of New York City, and the entire complex is a New York City landmark, designated in 1966 (church and rectory) and 1977 (church houses).
Sight description based on wikipedia

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