The 6 best churches in New York you must visit

These are the 6 best New York churches and cathedrals you must visit to learn about the city’s history and art. #NewYork #travel #USA

You have already done all the “must-dos” and “must-visits“. Now, you’re looking for alternative things to do in New York. This is where I step in and suggest you visit the best churches in New York. Get out of the box and learn about the city’s, and even the country’s, history and art. You won’t regret it!

St. Paul’s Chapel, where old and current history meet

St. Paul’s Chapel has had a long and fascinating history. It survived the Great Fire of 1776, which broke out days after the British invasion of New York during the Revolutionary War. The church was intact after the September 11 attacks, even though it’s very close to the site of the attacks. Can we say it’s a lucky building?

St. Paul’s was built in 1766 and its design closely resembles that of the church of
St.-Martin-in-the-Fields
in London. The nave is white, with lots of natural light coming in from the plain windows. The focal point is the Glory altarpiece, which represents the giving of the Ten Commandments to the Israelites. I was transported to 18th-century England as soon as I stepped into the church.

The 6 best churches in New York City you must visit
St. Paul’s Chapel stands out among the modern buildings.

George Washington attended a religious service here after he took the oath of office on April 30, 1789. Another historical object is one of the earliest known depictions of the Great Seal of the Unites States adopted in 1782. The vestry of Trinity Church commissioned this paiting in 1785.

However, the most moving feature of St. Paul’s Chapel is the 9-11 memorial altar at the back. St. Paul’s served as an emergency ministry for rescue workers and volunteers in the days following the attacks. They kept a pew with scratches done by all the gear first-responders have to wear. They felt so tired that they crashed on the pews as they were. I found this very sobering.

The 6 best churche sin New York City you must visit
The airy interior

Where: at Broadway and Fulton Street, Lower Manhattan

When: Every day from 10 am to 6 pm.

How: train line 6 to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall; metro lines A C E to Chambers Street station or A C 2 3 4 5 to Broadway/Nassau Street station.

Trinity Church Wall Street, the last resting place of Alexander Hamilton

A short walk separates St. Paul’s Chapel from Trinity Church Wall Street. The current iteration of this Episcopalian church was consecrated in 1846. Designed in the Gotic Revival style, this is the third building on this site. A restoration project is underway since May 2018 to rejuvenate the church.

The 6 best churches in New York you must visit
The magnificent altar of Trnity Church

We visited the church on a cruel winter day. We were looking for a place to shelter from the wind and happened upon Trinity Church. A service was about to start, so we decided to stay. After the service, morning coffee was served to the homeless people who were also seeking protection from the cold.

The churchyard is older than the current building and it has historic significance. Alexander Hamilton is one of the historic figures buried here.

The 6 best churches in New York you must visit
The historic churchayrd

Fun fact: Trinity Church is the location of some scenes from the 2004 movie National Treasure starring Nicholas Cage and Diane Kruger.

Where: Broadway at Wall Street, Lower Manhattan

When: Every day from 7 am to 6 pm.

How: J Z trains to Broad St staiton, R 1 to Rector St. station, 2 3 4 5 metro lines to Wall Street station.

St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, NYC’s first Catholic cathedral

St. Patrick’s is New York’s oldest Catholic church, completed in 1815. It was also the first Catholic cathedral for the growing Catholic community until 1879, when it was supplanted by St. Patrick’s on 5th Avenue.

True to the Gothic Revival style, the interior features vaulted ceilings and a beautifully carved altar screen. It inspires serenity.

Such beautiful interior.

Pope Benedict XVI designated Old St. Patrick’s a basilica on March 17, 2010. I think the choice of date was anything but random!

The catacombs comprise 35 crypts of prominent New York families and five clerical vaults. You can only visit the catacombs if you do a guided tour.

Where: 263 Mulberry St., Little Italy (entrance on Mott St.)

When: Mass times: Monday through Friday 8 am, 12;12 pm, Saturdays 5:30 pm, Sundays 9:15, 10:15, 11:30, 12:45 pm, 7 pm in English, Spanish, and Chinese.

How: N Q R W trains to Prince St. station, B D F M trains to Broadway-Lafayette St. station.

The magnificent St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick’s is New York’s best-known church. Many important events have taken place here, like the memorial mass for the victims of the 9-11 attacks or Babe Ruth’s funeral. I really appreciated how splendid a building this is when I saw it from the 25th floor of a nearby hotel. The spires soar to the skies, the intricate carvings boggle the mind, the stone looks radiant.

The 6 best Newy York churches you must visit
No words can describe this beauty

The doors of St. Patrick’s Cathedral opened in 1879, although the cornerstone had been laid in 1858. It’s difficult to picture this part of town as the outskirts of the city, but that’s what it was at the time. The Civil War had interrupted the construction, which resumed after the conflict ended.

The cathedral sparkles after an intense restoration and preservation work. The neo-Gothic interior is simply magnificent. You can’t miss this architectural gem.

The 6 best New York churches you must vist
The pulpit

Fun fact: St. Patrick’s is energy efficient.

Where: 5th Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets

When: 6:30 am to 8:45 pm daily

How: E M metro lines to 5 Avenue/53rd St. station, B D F M trains to Rockefeller Center station.

St. John the Divine, the world’s largest cathedral

St. John the Divine is the cathedral church of the Episcopal Diocese. At 601 feet long, it’s the largest cathedral in the world. As is the case with many cathedrals and basilicas around the world, St. John the Divine is work in progress. Construction started in 1892 and it still continues.

The 6 best New York churches you must visit
The imposing facade on Amstedam Ave.

The design is eclectic and has elements of the Romanesque, Byzantine and Gothic styles. Each of the magnificent stained glass windows is dedicated to an activity, like medicine or sports. At the ground level, the windows depict historical and scriptural figures carrying out that endeavour. On the upper level, we see the patron saint(s) of such activity, and Christ is in every rosette window.

I did the Vertical Tour and I thoroughly recommend it. I got to see parts of the cathedral you don’t normally see, like the triforium or even the roof. And the views of Manhattan are amazing.

The best 6 New York churches you must visit
No vertigo allowed!

Where: 1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street

When: Mondays through Fridays 9 am to 5 pm, Sundays 12:30 to 2:30 pm

How: 1 B C trains to 110th Street/Cathedral Parkway station, Upper West Side

St. Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue

There is a place for reflection and faith in the hustle and bustle of 5th Avenue: St. Thomas Church. The current building is the fourth on this site and hosted the first service in 1914. It was designed in the French High Gothic style. The splendid reredos, or altar screen, was inspired by those of English Gothic cathedrals.

The best 6 New York churches you must visit
The splendid reredos

When I visited St. Thomas, I opened the door and a shrill noise, like an alarm, sounded. I was petrified. But the warden said not to worry, they were tuning, or voicing, the organ. Phew! They organise concerts, coral worship services, and Sunday organ recital series.

Two things stood out to me: the icon of St. Thomas, a gift from the community of Exeter Cathedral in England, and the figure of Our Lady of 5th Avenue. Very fitting indeed.

The best 6 New York churches you must visit
Our Lady of Fifth Avenue

Fun fact: St. Thomas church won the Moses Award for outstanding preservation work in 2017.

Where: 5th Avenue at 53rd St., Midtown

When: 7:30 am to 6:30 pm daily.

How: E M trains to 5th/53rd St. station, B D to 7th Ave/53rd St. station

I loved visiting these New York churches for their history and art. They showed me a different side of the cuttroat city: the power of community and faith (other people’s, not mine). I hope you enjoy them too.

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Explore the Borough of Brooklyn

Venture out of Manhattan the next time you visit New York and explore Brooklyn, one of the Five Boroughs. You can reach it by bus, by train or even on foot. That’s right, you can cross Brooklyn Bridge on foot, see amazing views and do a little exercise. What are you waiting for?

DUMBO

No, not the flying elephant but the neighbourhood that is Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. DUMBO is located between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges and Vinegar Hill to the east. The warehouses of this formerly industrial area now house trendy cafes and independent boutiques.

Have a wander around the cobblestone streets and picture the Brooklyn of yesteryear. Walk down Washington Street towards the river and you will catch a glimpse of Manhattan Bridge (opened in 1909), a very Instagrammable view for sure.

 

 

 
 
 
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Brooklyn Bridge Park

This 85-acre waterfront park has a few attractions; however, to me, its main attractive were the sweeping views of the Lower Manhattan skyline across the East River and of the two bridges, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

I went to the Empire Fulton Ferry section of the park, nestled between the two bridges. There’s a well-kept lawn to hang out in, and picnic tables on the patio outside the Empire Stores.

Venture out of Manhattan the next time you visit NYC and explore Brooklyn: the Bridge, Williamsburg, Bushwick, DUMBO, the views #brooklyn #travel #newyork

Empire Stores and St. Ann’s Warehouse, formerly a tobacco factory from 1860, are two of the few Antebellum (pre-Civil War) buildings still extant in the area. Take a breather at the Max Family Garden next to St. Ann’s Warehouse.

Jane’s Carousel is a restored 1922 classic carousel gifted by a local real estate developer. He had the pavilion specially designed by an award-winning architect, Jean Nouvel. The working carousel opened in 2011.

Venture out of Manhattan the next time you visit NYC and explore Brooklyn: the Bridge, Williamsburg, Bushwick, DUMBO, the views #brooklyn #travel #newyork

Brooklyn Heights

Take a wander around Brooklyn Heights and enjoy the aristocratic brownstones of this historic neighbourhood. I walked along Henry Street, where locals do their shopping and go for meals at the bars and restaurants. I recommend you wander off to the side streets and try to catch a glimpse of the lush back gardens.

Venture out of Manhattan the next time you visit NYC and explore Brooklyn: the Bridge, Williamsburg, Bushwick, DUMBO, the views #brooklyn #travel #newyork

Walk along the converted mews of Grace Court and enjoy the views of the river and the Manhattan skyline beyond. It’s so quiet and stately, I thoroughly enjoyed my walk.

Venture out of Manhattan the next time you visit NYC and explore Brooklyn: the Bridge, Williamsburg, Bushwick, DUMBO, the views #brooklyn #travel #newyork

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-stayed and suspension bridge that connects Manhattan and Brooklyn. It was built between 1869 and 1883 and is probably one of the most recognizable symbols of New York. Take the 4, 5, or 6 subway lines to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall Station if you’re in in Manhattan. Go on to the Brooklyn Bridge Promenade and start walking. Enjoy the sweeping views. I did this in winter, and it gets rather chilly, so make sure you wear windproof clothes.

Bushwick

Bushwick is a working-class neighbourhood that is slowly experiencing a process of revitalisation. It was founded by Dutch settlers in the 17th century, but the population is predominantly Latino nowadays. The main draw is the street art. Murals cover otherwise drab concrete walls, especially on Moore St., White St., Sigel St. and Troutman Ave. Some murals change, some stay the same.  

I had heard so much about Bushwick that I had really high expectations. Honestly, I was underwhelmed. I liked some murals, others left me cold. And I found the area untidy.

Venture out of Manhattan the next time you visit NYC and explore Brooklyn: the Bridge, Williamsburg, Bushwick, DUMBO, the views #brooklyn #travel #newyork
Venture out of Manhattan the next time you visit NYC and explore Brooklyn: the Bridge, Williamsburg, Bushwick, DUMBO, the views #brooklyn #travel #newyork
Venture out of Manhattan the next time you visit NYC and explore Brooklyn: the Bridge, Williamsburg, Bushwick, DUMBO, the views #brooklyn #travel #newyork

Williamsburg

Williamsburg is another working-class neighbourhood taken over by hipsters and yuppies. My hotel was very close to Bedford Ave., where everything happens. It has character and a neighbourhood vibe. However, there was too much trash on the street. Bedford Ave. between Metropolitan Ave. and 10th St. is lined with cafes, restaurants, boutiques, convenience stores, and anything you can think of from an Apple Store to a WholeFoods. It reminded me of the Palermo Soho area in Buenos Aires.

Venture out of Manhattan the next time you visit NYC and explore Brooklyn: the Bridge, Williamsburg, Bushwick, DUMBO, the views #brooklyn #travel #newyork
Venture out of Manhattan the next time you visit NYC and explore Brooklyn: the Bridge, Williamsburg, Bushwick, DUMBO, the views #brooklyn #travel #newyork

Brooklyn Navy Yard

Created in 1801 as one of the nation’s first shipyards, Brooklyn Navy Yard has had a long history.  The Yard closed in the 1960s. In its present reincarnation, it’s a manufacturing and green businesses center. The BLDG 92 museum, housed in the 1858 Marine Commandant’s residence, shows the history of the Yard and the people who worked in it.

Venture out of Manhattan the next time you visit NYC and explore Brooklyn: the Bridge, Williamsburg, Bushwick, DUMBO, the views #brooklyn #travel #newyork

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Venture out of Manhattan the next time you visit NYC and explore Brooklyn: the Bridge, Williamsburg, Bushwick, DUMBO, the views #brooklyn #travel #newyork

Where to eat in New York

The Big Apple is a food lover’s paradise. However, there are so many places to eat in New York that choosing the right one for you can be daunting. I’m going to share a list of restaurants that I’ve liked. Some were recommended to me, some I found by chance, some I found on Google Maps’ suggestions (if you don’t use it, you’re missing out). This list is not particularly budget-conscious and it doesn;t include chains or fast food restaurants.

Bon appetit!

Where to eat in New York

Financial District

La Parisienne

Mis recomendaciones de dónde comer en Nueva York y Brooklyn. Pizza y pastas, sí, hamburguesas y cadenas no. ¡Buen provecho! #nuevayork #viajar #EEUU

La Parisienne is located in a hidden corner of the Financial District. It feels like a little bit of France in New York. Even our waiter was French. .The decor is very simple yet elegant. Mind you, there are only a handful of tables. We had a croque forestier (a toasted sandwich with truffled bechamel sauce, brie, and mushrooms) that was delicious. For afters, we had a canelé and a chocolate dome, a delightful chocolate mousse cake.

9 Maiden Lane, very close to the World Trade Center.

Union Square

Maison Kayser

Maison Kayser is a chain of French boulangeries which came across the pond in 2012. It has now a few locations. I went to the Union Square one. You can buy artisanal bread, cakes, pastries, etc to go, or eat at the cafe. You must wait to be assigned a table, though. Maison Kayser has gone cashless.

841 Broadway, Union Square

Midtown

Lexington Brass

Lexington Brass is a French-style American brasserie. I’ve been twice, and the food was very good both times, prepared with good quality ingredients and good technique. The menu changes, which is to be expected, but I fondly remember the grilled octopus starter, the steak frites and the chicken under a brick with Brussels sprouts and caramelised onions. regarding cocktails, I really enjoyed the Lavender Bee’s Knees with Bombay Sapphire Gin, lemon and lavender infused honey.  My friends didn’t think the cocktails were that great, but we all agreed that the food was delicious. 

517 Lexington Ave. ( corner of East 48th Street), Midtown

A few recommendations on where to eat in New York, a food lover's paradise. Great food, no chains, no fast food. #travel #newyork #USA

Henry’s Rooftop Bar

Henry’s Rooftop Bar on the 16th floor of the Roger Smith Hotel, about half a block from Lexington Brass. The elevator is to the left of Reception. Since there is no food service at the bar, my friends and I went and bought 15 hotdogs to eat upstairs. We weren’t sure it was OK, but no one seemed to be bothered by it. And we made the hotdog guy very happy. Great views in a relaxed atmosphere (no need to wear high heels). Henry’s closes at 10 pm Monday through Saturday, and at 9 pm on Sundays. 

501 Lexington Ave., Midtown

West Village

Baker & Co.

Baker & Co. was recommended to us by a native New Yorker. It’s a lovely little place with a beautiful covered patio. I simply loved the place. Their pasta is flavourful and perfectly cooked al dente. I heartily recommend it. I had the pasta of the day (tagliatelle with truffles) and a glass of wine and paid $37.38 plus tip.

259 Bleeker St., West Village

Little Branch Speakeasy

Little Branch is a speakeasy-style bar located in a West Village basement. There’s no need to utter a password, just ask the doorman if you can come in. Inside, it’s all Jazz Era and suspender-wearing bartenders. You can order from the drinks menu, or ask the bartender to create a cocktail for you, or do like me and order a pisco sour off- menu. A highly-recommended fun experience. 

22 7th Ave S, West Village

A few recommendations on where to eat in New York, a food lover's paradise. Great food, no chains, no fast food. #travel #newyork #USA

Uncle Paul’s Pizza

 My friend Melissa found  Uncle Paul’s on Google Maps. We ordered a large pizza, half plain cheese and half vegetarian. I added a slice of eggplant pizza. The cheese was golden and crunchy, the vegetables were very tasty, but the biggest revelation for me was the eggplant pizza. We washed the pizza down with some local Brooklyn Lager. 

70 Vanderbilt Ave., Midtown

A few recommendations on where to eat in New York, a food lover's paradise. Great food, no chains, no fast food. #travel #newyork #USA

Chinatown

Big Wong

There are countless restaurants in Chinatown and it’s hard to choose. My friends and I went to Big Wong and had a wonderful lunch. The food was very tasty and the service was interesting, to say the least, but brisk. We ended up ordering what our waiter thought we should eat. He made some really good choices.

67 Mott St., Chinatown

A few recommendations on where to eat in New York, a food lover's paradise. Great food, no chains, no fast food. #travel #newyork #USA

Little Italy

La Bella Ferrara Bakery

La Bella Ferrara Bakery is impossible to miss, as it ‘s located on Mulberry Street at the beginning of Little Italy’s madness. Please stop by and get cannoli, anisette biscotti, sfogliatelle (clamshell pastries), or anything from the counter. 

108 Mulberry St., Little Italy 

A few recommendations on where to eat in New York, a food lover's paradise. Great food, no chains, no fast food. #travel #newyork #USA

Gelso & Grand

I had such delicious pasta at Gelso & Grand that I can’t wait to go back. Ended up sitting at the bar because the wait for a table for ONE was about 30 minutes on a Sunday. I ordered bucatini alla bottarga: housemade pasta with lemon, garlic, chile pepper flakes and parsely. Lovely atmosphere too.

186 Grand St.

Mis recomendaciones de dónde comer en Nueva York y Brooklyn. Pizza y pastas, sí, hamburguesas y cadenas no. ¡Buen provecho! #nuevayork #viajar #EEUU

Upper West Side

Arco Café

Arco Café is a little neighbourhood restaurant. They specialise in homecooked Sardinian food. If you’re in the area, do not hesitate to eat here.

886 Amsterdam Avenue

Columbia University

The Hungarian Pastry Shop

My friend Leigh recommended this cafe a while ago. Since it’s so close to Columbia University, you’ll more than likely rub shoulders with students and professors The coffee is good, but the pastries are the real star. Cash only.

1030 Amsterdam Avenue

Mis recomendaciones de dónde comer en Nueva York y Brooklyn. Pizza y pastas, sí, hamburguesas y cadenas no. ¡Buen provecho! #nuevayork #viajar #EEUU

Harlem

Red Rooster

Red Rooster is the creation of chef Marcus Samuelsson. The atmosphere is vibrant like the neighbourhood. We went on a Monday night. The bar was packed and there was live music. Everyone was dressed to the nines. I loved it! Their food is a take on Southern soul food. I ordered their signature dish, hot honey yardbird. Fried chicken with garlic mashed potatoes, gravy and collard greens. My niece’s burger was excellent too.

Ginny’s Supper Club, a jazz club, opens in the weekend.

310 Lenox Avenue.

Where to eat in Brooklyn

Juliana’s Pizza

The pizza at Juliana’s is thin and very tasty. There was aline otside the door when we arrived at noon, so I was ready to leave. My niece persuaded me stay. I owe her! We waited 20 minutes, but the line was three times longer when we left. Go early! We practically inhaled our margherita pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms.

19 Old Fulton St.

Mis recomendaciones de dónde comer en Nueva York y Brooklyn. Pizza y pastas, sí, hamburguesas y cadenas no. ¡Buen provecho! #nuevayork #viajar #EEUU

Dziupla Polish Restaurant

I like Polish food a lot and decided to give Dziupla a try. It was my first time in Williamsburg, so I walked along Bedford Ave. first. The place reminded of the Palermo Soho neighbourhood in Buenos Aires. I ordered a Polish sampler: three different kinds of pierogi, stuffed cabbage in tomato sauce, kielbasa and potato pancakes with sour cream and applesauce. It was so good! I finished the meal off with a Polish-style apple pie. The meal set me back $29.40 plus tip. 

194 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg

A few recommendations on where to eat in New York, a food lover's paradise. Great food, no chains, no fast food. #travel #newyork #USA

Peter Luger Steakhouse

Peter Luger Steakhouse was established in 1887 and is famous for its dry-aged beef. I had seen in on TV, on one travel show or another, I don’t remember. Since I was in the area, I decided to give it a try. I didn’t order the steak for one because, at $54, I didn’t want to risk not liking it or not being able to finish it. So I ordered one of the dishes of the day, the prime rib, and a green salad. The prime rib, which was decent, came with peas and a baked potato, which was too dry. I inhaled the bread, it was delicious. However, I was a bit jealous when I saw my neighbours’ steaks. They gave me three chocolate coins too. Lunch was $50.57 + tip. Cash or debit.

178 Broadway, Brooklyn. 

A few recommendations on where to eat in New York, a food lover's paradise. Great food, no chains, no fast food. #travel #newyork #USA

Cafe Beit

My first morning in Brooklyn, I was trying to find a cafe for breakfast on Bedford Ave. I asked a lady walking her dog for a recommendation, and she said “go to Cafe Beit, coffee’s good there”. So I did. I’m a great fan of a flat white or a latte and an almond croissant for breakfast, and that’s what I had. About $8.

158 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn

CROSSING THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE

The city of New York has landmarks that are easily recognized. Even if you’ve never been to the city, you’ve seen them on TV and the cinema: the Empire State, Central Park, the Statue of Liberty and many, many more.

Brooklyn Bridge7

One of those landmarks is the Brooklyn Bridge with its distinct design. Although I had been to New York before, I’d never crossed it until early February this year. My sister and nieces came to visit us in Dallas and the girls wanted to go to New York too. After all, NYC is closer to Dallas than to Buenos Aires!

Brooklyn Bridge5

The Brooklyn Bridge was opened in 1883 to connect the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. It has two levels, one for vehicular traffic and a promenade for pedestrians and cyclists.

It is very easy to reach. We took the M line (subway lines 4, 5 or 6) to Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall station and walked a few yards to the beginning of the bridge.

Oxford1

It was a sunny day but oh so cold! There was snow along the sides of the path so it was narrower than usual. We had to keep and eye out for cyclists. I’m sure they were annoyed at those tourists who were busy taking photos and not paying attention to what was happening on the road.

The views of Manhattan from the bridge are spectacular. We picked out a few of NYC landmarks, like the Empire State or Lady Liberty. The going was fine, the sun kept us relatively warm and there was very little wind.

Brooklyn Bridge10

However, things changed when we got to the other side. The buildings blocked the sunlight, the wind seemed to have picked up and it was bitterly cold. We cancelled our plans to see Brooklyn, had a hot drink and found the nearest subway station back to Manhattan. We went to Wall St, where it felt even colder, but that’s a story for another day. 

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