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Islamic Cultural Center
The largest mosque in New York City, the turquoise-domed Islamic Cultural Center, sits at a 29-degree angle from the Manhattan grid—a peaceful contrast to the taupe high-rises of its Upper East Side neighbors. Opened in 1991 and funded largely by the government of Kuwait, the center attracts Muslims from all over the city and the world. Locals come in for the five-times-a-day prayers in the subdued prayer hall on the first floor. But it’s the serene, sea-foam–hued main hall upstairs inside the dome that’s the main draw for both Muslims and non-Muslims, as upwards of 900 people congregate for a prayer service and sermon every Friday. Copious natural light shines through huge windows, while 99 small, round bulbs—one for each of the names of Allah—line the room’s edges. Non-Muslims are invited to watch services from chairs in the back—though take note that all participants, non-Muslims included, are required to remove their shoes.