Stained glass windows surround the altar at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

St. Patrick's Cathedral lies in New York City across from Rockefeller Center. Technically, the cathedral was completed in 1879 after 20 years of construction. However, since the cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of New York, an archbishop's house and the rectory were added between 1882 and 1884. In the 1880s, the cathedral's dramatic spires were completed. Later the great rose window and immense bronze doors on the Fifth Avenue side were added.

On the outside, the cathedral is 400 feet long and 274 feet wide, with spires that rise 330 feet from the street. On the inside, it seats 2,200 and has been the site for the wakes of such greats as Polish Prime Minister Ignace Jan Paderewski, New York Governor Alfred E. Smith, and Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

The cathedral admits both the exalted and the humble; about three million visitors come to admire the cathedral each year. Both gawkers and worshipers come to see the St. Michael and St. Louis altar, designed by Tiffany & Company, and the St. Elizabeth altar, designed by Paolo Medici of Rome. There's also the crypt where the former Archbishops of New York are buried under the high altar with their honorary headwear hanging above. St. Patrick's welcomes visitors from 7:00 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. daily, as long as they respect the serenity others seek there.

­St. Patrick's Cathedral Information

Address: 460 Madison Ave. (51st St.), New York, NY

Phone: 212/753-2261

Hours of Operation: 6:30 a.m. - 8:45 p.m., daily

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