Thursday Doors – St Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St Patrick’s Cathedral and I have not had a great history when it comes to photos. The one time I was actually inside, I didn’t have a camera. That was back when Faith was a low-number teenager and it was so cold in New York that we opted to add a fast-paced Stations of the Cross to our itinerary, just to get warm. In the years of my early forays into photography and digital photography, I lacked a wide-enough lens/zoom to capture a meaningful amount of the magnificent building in the frame.

Last year, when I had time, a decent camera and a beautiful day, I just happened to be in New York on Veterans Day and the parade just happened to go past St Pat’s. Shooting from across the street meant shooting past/over/in between people, parade participants and crowd-control fencing. The best view I had of the cathedral was from the middle of 51st Street, where the police had set up an authorized crossing line. This was made with crowd-control fencing and we were packed in like cattle. Stopping to get a nice photo of the cathedral was ill-advised and not attempted. Adding insult to injury, as it were, the Cathedral was undergoing renovation work, complete with photo-ruining scaffolding.

This past November, when I walked by the cathedral, it was raining.

I did venture inside, but there was a mass in progress. My memory of even the fastest masses, told me that they were about 15-20 minutes away from ending the service. I didn’t have time to wait. A guard at the security station pointed to a “Donations” basket and to the gallery area behind the pews. I took that to mean: “for a few dollars, I’ll let you take some pictures.” I complied. No flash, and I remembered to mute the click-sound on my camera.

I was going to simply share the photos I managed to get, but when I looked up the cross street, I spied the caption on the map: “Iconic church with storied history” I gotta learn more about that. Let’s begin with this little bit from Wikipedia:

“The Cathedral of St. Patrick (commonly called St. Patrick’s Cathedral) is a decorated Neo-Gothic-style Roman Catholic cathedral church in the United States and a prominent landmark of New York City. It is the seat of the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, and a parish church, located on the east side of Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets in Midtown Manhattan, directly across the street from Rockefeller Center and specifically facing the Atlas statue.”

Not to quibble with the folks at Wikipedia, but the cathedral was built in 1878. The Atlas statue was installed in 1937. So, if anything is specifically facing anything else, I’m guessing Atlas is facing St. Pats. Then again, since Atlas is a Greek God who at one time was said to hold the Earth on his back…the Earth that God, as worshipped by the Roman Catholic Church created, I don’t think the cathedral and the statue are really related. I think we’re talking “neighbors” not brothers in architecture, just sayin.

Perhaps the “storied past” has something to do with terrorism. Beginning in 1914, and continuing through the 1950s, St. Patrick’s was the target of a couple of bombings and several bomb threats.

The Gothic Revival style cathedral was scoffed at when first proposed by Archbishop John Hughes in 1853. Many people thought the site was too far away from the populated area of Manhattan. The Archbishop persisted and design of the cathedral began. The cornerstone was laid on August 15, 1858. Construction was halted during the Civil War, resuming in 1865. The cathedral was completed in 1878 and dedicated on May 25, 1879. The twin spires were added in 1888 and, rising 329’ 6” (100.4 m), were the tallest structures in New York City at the time.

The cathedral is a brick building, clad in marble. It’s 174’ (53m) wide at the transepts and 333’ (101.2 m) long, from the Narthex to the Lady Chapel. If you would like more information about the cathedral, you can visit the website, the historic timeline, read the article in Wikipedia – be nice, take a virtual tour, or, something I never thought I’d write, follow St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Twitter.

If you want more information about Thursday Doors, and to my regular readers, no, I’m not going to elevate Norm to a religious post of significance, please check out Norm Frampton’s blog. View his doors, find the blue frog and click on that to add your door or see all the other doors.

62 thoughts on “Thursday Doors – St Patrick’s Cathedral

Add yours

  1. It’s a beauty of a church, Dan. I can see why you return repeatedly for another view.
    My favourite is the heavy and ornate 2nd door you featured, but I couldn’t help but smile at the photo of the front entrance with the crane thingy in front. Nicely played – bonus points from me on that one ;)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha – thanks for the bonus points, Joanne. I don’t usually see a crane as ruining a photo. On one of these trips, I’ll take the tour and get some pictures of the inside doors, and the beautiful windows.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Some wonderful shots Dan – nicely done. Somehow I don’t see myself following them on twitter though….
    It is one of the iconic churches in all of the U.S. Every time I go to New York, a visit here is always on my list but somehow I always run short on time :-(
    Next visit I’m going there first! Even before I check into my hotel if I have to, because I really want to see this place up close for myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Norm. I hope you get there on a nice day, in between Mass and weddings and when the tours are available. I’ve been there more times than I can count, and the only time I had the opportunity for good photos, I didn’t have a camera.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been there several times, but it has been a few years so I enjoyed your photos. St. Patricks and Veterans Day – two for one. These certainly are handsome doors that lead to an iconic church. The last time we were there a mass was going on, tourists were checking things out, and several folks were sleeping in the pews including one with a kind of mangy looking black dog. It made me stop and ponder the idea that God pulls us all in at one time or another. Good doors to close out the year. Best wishes to you and yours, Dan, for a healthy and happy 2017. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Judy. They (the staff and parish representatives) do seem able to take New York in stride. They did note that, in the recent renovations, they were not adding public restrooms. Some in the city complained about that, but I think that’s a city responsibility in the 21st century.


  4. I hope you get the opportunity to tour St. Patricks when there is no construction or rain to disturb your visit. It stinks when all that metal and wire blocks your view, but you did manage to give us some nice door photos (I like the little inside door with four glass panels) and interesting facts. Happy New Year to you Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had been there on several class trips into the Big Apple when I was in high school. It was always breathtaking because it seemed so massive, but even more so now when you see how buildings are built. Beautiful captures, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah, scaffolding, the bane of a photographer’s existence!! But you did well anyway and certainly conveyed the magnificence of the church. This church as well as the one Norm’s featuring today are filled with the same sense of awe for me as those mighty ones in Europe (for obvious reasons.) Our little church is a much more cozy type. :-)


    Liked by 1 person

    1. The larger problem for me, Janet, is that I like watching construction in progress. I found it interesting that this church and the one Norm featured were built at about the same time. I think it’s amazing that these projects were taken on in such relatively new communities. The older cathedrals in Europe have always impressed me, given how hard they must have been to build. The simple things we take for granted, like moving and lifting materials was a major undertaking. Even in the late 1800s, these were not easy tasks.

      I too am used to churches that fit the “cozy” model :)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The Gothic Revival style cathedral was scoffed at when first proposed by Archbishop John Hughes in 1853. Many people thought the site was too far away from the populated area of Manhattan.

    You gotta love that…

    Great photos, Dan!


  8. Gorgeous church, Dan! Thanks for sharing it and the history. You are fortunate to see it up close and personal, regardless of whether or not you got great photos. If I ever get to NYC, I would have to put this church on my list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I should add it to my list as well, Mary. I think you can schedule a tour. I keep finding it on my way back to my hotel and hoping that I can get inside and poke around. Maybe one of these years, I’ll plan to visit at a specific time.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ooh, more fancy stuff! Beautiful and amazing place! I had to look up the word narthex. I can’t even recall having seen it before, so thanks, I like new words. I am especially fond of the thick carved wooden door seen from the narthex, and of the little door with the glass panes and brass kickplate :) Great doors!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I was pretty sure that was the right word, but I had to check when I didn’t see it on the diagram. I thought maybe it was a word only used by certain religions. It didn’t seem right to call that space the “lobby” as if there was a popcorn stand off to the side. I really liked the little wooden door, as well as the narrow arched door.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Before I knew about Thursday Doors I loved cathedrals because of their ceilings! You found many here – my favorite is the one on the second row in the middle. Wish you a happy New Year with lots of new doors to appearing.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Dan, I wish I had your priority for getting the history on things – my weakest point – I’m more like the flying Dutchman (pun unintended) -I guess my priority is “how it looks, and what mood it evokes.”Anyways, I hope you still will have a happy and peaceful New Year:)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jan. I think these gothic structures all have that wonderful uplifting appeal. I usually don’t mind the people in New York. There are very few chances to get a shot without people in it.


  11. Wow, it’s gorgeous! Thank you for the tour. I was so, so close to it while in NYC this May, but didn’t venture that direction or drag my sisters on another doorscursion to see it. I should have! I think they would liked seeing it now that I’ve seen it through your viewfinder.

    The doors are lovely! I love the carved and beveled door, and the interior doors are lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Dan – I have walked by this church (cathedral) many times and wondered about it / now I know !
    And interesting to hear your plight of capturing photos of this beauty- what a fun thing to have on the to do list.
    Oh and the scaffolding looked massive so thanks for including those harvested shots – ;)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. All I can say is WOWOWOWOWOW!!! I didn’t know where to look. Oh my gosh, Dan! What a fantastic gallery with one after the other glorious glorious pics!! Who cares about a little rain or construction vehicles or heck even a parade! Wow! You have outdone ourself with this post, Dan. Thank you from the bottom of my Heart. Thank you! <3

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Great post (photos and narrative)! Most lecturers use laser pointers to focus your attention on things but don’t know how you arranged a crane to point out your door ;) Also, being from Hawaii, we studied American History and picturing things from that distance to the mainland sometimes caused a brain disconnect but since I’ve been on the West Coast for 38 years I should know better by now but building St. Pat’s during rthe Civil War caused me a double take on Cathedrals and the North and South but I’m still learning even in my old age. I’m wondering if that little door was the confessional room; the Christ The Light Cathderal in Oakland, CA had their modern confessional rooms look similar. Happy New Year, looking for to next year’s posts!


    1. That’s a good point, it could be the confessional. I’m glad you liked this and I’m so glad you thought to comment. I’ve never thought about learning American History from Hawaii. I guess that would be weird. Happy New Year!


  15. As always a bit late, but I loved the history and the information you shared. You, in many ways, inspire me to come up with better historical information when I write my travel posts. I love visiting these huge cathedrals and buildings that have tall ceilings and superlative architectural design. I wonder if those barricades are everywhere in New York. Is jaywalking allowed in NYC?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It’s funny, because your travel posts have effect me the same way. The barriers were only up for the parade, but you might run into them for a wide variety of reasons. I’m sure there are many around our President-elect’s building. People do jaywalk. More do on the cross streets than the avenues. Avenues are 4 or more lanes.


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