St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Begun in 1858 and only reaching its present form in 1931, St. Patrick’s Cathedral was designed by James Renwick Jr., one of the foremost of New York’s Gothic Revival architects. Equally adept in other styles, he also designed the Italianate castle of the original Smithsonian Institute and the Main Building at Vassar College in the French Second Empire mode – the latter perhaps the first use of the style in the Unites States.
For St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Renwick drew upon the form and treatment of the great Gothic Cathedral at Cologne, Germany, but at a smaller and more delicate scale overall, particularly the towers, which were not completed until 1888. The largest religious building on Fifth Avenue, it is also one of the best such structures in New York City and boasts a serene interior, beautiful stained glass and two unique Kilgen pipe organs, designed with the assistance of Peitro Yon, the great Italian-born composer and organist, who was on the Cathedral’s music staff from 1926 until 1943.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the few buildings on Fifth Avenue not to have a numbered address; its official mailing address is simply Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, followed by the zip code.
The Cathedral, not surprisingly, is a designated New York City landmark.