NYC is a cosmopolitan city inhabited by people from different cultural communities from all over the world. It’s a place where different faiths, sects and religions co-exist amicably making it an international destination in the truest sense. Naturally, it is home to a number of famous churches, chapels, cathedrals, temples and synagogues representing the multi-cultural ethos and pluralistic spirit at their best. These famous places of worship are great whether you look for a spiritual experience or just wish to enjoy the beautiful architecture. You can visit these places to immerse yourself in a sense of piety, or to understand the shades of history steeped in them for decades.
Here’s a list of some of the well-known and famous places of worship in NYC:
Saint Peter’s Church
Built between 1836 and 1840, this church is located at the edge of the World Trade Center. It’s the oldest Catholic Church in NYC. It also holds the distinction of being the first church in the archdiocese to offer midday services. In 1965, it was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and continues to be a major center of worship.
Abyssinian Baptist Church
Harlem has more than 400 places of worship and the Abyssinian Baptist Church is perhaps the most famous of them all. The church has its roots in 1808 when it was built. Gradually, it became a dominant symbol of cultural life, and by 1930, achieved the statute of being the largest Protestant congregation in the U.S.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is perhaps the most famous place of worship in NYC spanning an entire city block in midtown Manhattan. Constructed in the late 1870s, it’s a massive gothic-style architecture in stained glass window design that can seat about 2,200 people. A big number of tourists and religious-minded people visit this cathedral every day and appreciate its stunning architecture, comprising spires that are towering some 330 feet from street level.
Eldridge Street Synagogue
Constructed in 1887, the iconic Eldridge Street Synagogue is designated a National Historic Landmark. It was erected by Eastern European Jews and had the distinction of serving thousands of Jews at the start of the 20th century. Still a famous place of worship in the city, this Orthodox Jewish synagogue draws devotees in big numbers and serves them with regular weekly services on the Sabbath.
Islamic Cultural Center
Although the plans for a large Islamic Center were afoot in 1960, it took some years until the first mosque was built in NYC – in 1987 to be precise. The Center can accommodate close to 900 people for Friday services and it continues to be a major place of worship for the followers of Islam in the city. Non-Muslims can also visit this column-less and steel trusses-incorporated mosque and sit in the back room to watch the proceedings.
Mahayana Buddhist Temple
Visit the largest Buddhist Temple in NYC to add more substance and meaning to your New York sightseeing trip. A massive 16-foot statue of Buddha is a major attraction for visitors here. The temple displays scenes from Buddha’s life and offers total enrichment to visitors. Plus, you can donate $ 1 and get your fortune on a rolled scroll.