National Historic Landmark: St. Patrick’s Cathedral

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of the New York diocese and is perhaps the most famous Catholic Church in the US. It is on the busiest section of 5th Avenue, across the street from Rockefeller Center.

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Once inside the doors, it is an oasis of calm in the midst of chaos. Though crowded with tourists when there is not a service, there is still a hush when compared with the blaring horns of the traffic outside.

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The land was originally purchased by the Jesuits for a college campus in 1810 and served multiple purposes over the next several decades. At that time, this area was considered north of the city proper.

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Construction on the cathedral began in 1858 and took 20 years to complete because work on it stopped during the Civil War. The Gothic Revival-style cathedral was dedicated in 1879 and had the main spires added nearly ten years later. They were the tallest structures in NYC at the time.

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Renovations and additions continued into the early 1900s. The Cathedral was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

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Compare the marble color in this photo, taken in 2010 to the aerial view of the spires from 2014 at the end of the post

The last time we visited, there was an extensive restoration underway. The Cathedral that I’d thought was grey all my life gradually emerged as pristine white marble. The restoration cost $177 million and was completed just in time for Pope Francis’ visit in 2015.

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Location: 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022

Designation: National Historic Landmark

Date designated or established: 12/8/1976

Date of my visit: 8/1/2014

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The Pietà by William Partridge is three times the size of Michelangelo’s Pietà
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From the Top of the Rock, you can clearly see the cross-shaped floor plan in the style of the great European cathedrals.

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