B, D, F, M at 47th-50th Sts.-Rockefeller Center; E, M at Fifth Ave.-53rd St.
A massive, masterful Gothic structure set amid Midtown's boutiques, St. Patrick's is the seat of New York’s Roman Catholic Archdiocese and has been the city's focal point of Catholic worship since opening in 1879. Though the design is undeniably European, American touches are evident throughout: Statues of American saints stand in niches on the 20,000-pound bronze doors of the West Portal. Above these rise St. Patrick's most impressive external feature: twin 330-foot towers, which like the rest of the white-marble exterior, bristle with crockets, foils, pinnacles, and other intricate masonry that characterizes the Gothic style. The interior is just as exquisitely detailed, with soft light filtering through stained-glass windows and flooding the soaring, cavernous space within. St. Patrick's floor-plan is the traditional shape of a short-armed crucifix, with the porch of its nave at Fifth Ave, the Lady Chapel (added in 1901) at Madison, and the transepts opening onto 50th and 51st Streets. The nave is lined with altars and filled with pews that face the ornate sanctuary; beneath is a crypt, where all archbishops from Hughes on are buried. As one of the city's architectural landmarks, it's easy to forget that the structure still functions as a parish church with regular mass, confession, baptisms, serving both residents and tourists alike.Architectural Highlights
Some of the exquisite marble Stations of the Cross won a joint-first prize in the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The Lady Chapel, which celebrated its first mass in 1906 and was designed by American Charles Matthews in the French Gothic style, is characterized by polished marble and heavier-leaded windows. The great Rose window is a masterpiece by window 20th-century stained-glass designer Charles Connick. The crypt in which all of the former Archbishops of New York are interred can be seen by appointment only.
Free volunteer tours take about 40 minutes and are offered biweekly except during winter. Days and times vary. More-detailed guided tours are available to parties for 10 or more.