These may not be the most exciting things to see in New York City, but it’s likely you’ll be passing by several of these important churches, temples, synagogues, and monuments during your travels, and it’s not a bad idea to know at least a little about some of them.
Churches and synagogues
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- St. Patrick’s Cathedral — This is the largest Neo-Gothic Catholic cathedral in North America, and probably the most famous house of worship in New York City. Its location among the priciest stores on Fifth Avenue means visitors will likely be passing it whether they know it or not.
- Cathedral of Saint John the Divine — This isn’t the most famous church in New York City, but it is the largest. In fact, it’s one of the largest Christian churches on earth. Its location in the northern part of the Upper West Side means few will pass by accidentally, but it’s quite a sight if you make the effort.
- Trinity Church — Located at the corner of Broadway and Wall Street, just 2 blocks from Ground Zero, a church has stood here since 1697. The current structure was built in 1846, and the small adjacent cemetery is the eternal home to the remains of many famous Americans.
- Abyssinian Baptist Church — This Harlem church dates back to 1808, although it’s only been in its current location since 1923. It was started as a protest to segregated seating at the First Baptist Church, and now is famous as a center for the Harlem gospel music scene.
- Eldridge Street Synagogue — This Lower East Side synagogue is one of the oldest in the United States, and the first one built by Eastern European Jews. This is a cornerstone of the Jewish community in the area, although services are held in a basement facility due to repairs needed in the main sanctuary.
- Grand Army Plaza — This 11-acre plaza is the main entrance to Prospect Park in Brooklyn, so it’s far better known to locals than to tourists. The main attraction is the Triumphal Arch with an ornate Quadriga on top, but there are several other interesting monuments in the plaza.
- Grant’s Tomb — All jokes aside, this is where former Civil War general and 18th President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant, is buried alongside his wife. It’s in the northern part of Manhattan so it’s not terribly convenient, but it’s famous and popular in spite of that.
- Washington Square Arch — At the northern border of Washington Square Park in the heart of Greenwich Village is another triumphal arch that is far more famous than the one at Grand Army Plaza. The park is surrounded by New York University, and also contains several other notable statues.
- Statue of Liberty — Of course this is covered elsewhere, but New York City’s most famous monument and statue can’t be left off any list. It’s located in New York Harbor and can only be visited on a Circle Line Ferry that also visits Ellis Island.