The grand old buildings of New York City
There are 116 National Historic Landmarks in New York City

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It's easy to spend your time in New York, looking up at the mighty skyscrapers that the city is famous for, but look around, and you will find Cathedrals, Public Libraries, beautiful halls and churches and even decadent railway stations - some say it's these very buildings that draw them back time after time.
Located at 209 Broadway in Lower Manhattan, St. Paul’s Chapel is Manhattan’s oldest public building in continuous use. Moreover, it is the only surviving church from the Revolutionary Era, and holds much history from this period. Opened in 1766, it is part of the Episcopal Parish of Trinity Church and has been a place of worship and refuge for many over the years, including George Washington and Revolutionary War British Generals Cornwallis and Howe, who would go there to pray and 9/11 recovery workers who were cared for inside the chapel. If you’re interested in seeing where George Washington himself sat inside the church, there is an oil painting of the Great Seal of the United State over his pew. The interior of the church is less grand and more cozy yet elegant with glass chandeliers and an ornamental design above the alter created by a French veteran of the revolution, Pierre L’Enfant.
An Episcopal Church located in Lower Manhattan at the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway, Trinity Church is one of the oldest churches in the United States. In 1696, a small group of Anglicans were granted approval from Governor Benjamin Fletcher to purchase land for a new church. The next year, Trinity Church received a charter from King William III of England. Today, the Trinity Church you see is the third building in the same location, built in 1846 in a Neo-Gothic style. Until 1890 when the New York World Building was completed, its 281-foot spire and cross was the highest point in the city. Along with the building’s impressive architecture -- including intricate stained-glass windows, sandstone facade, Gothic spires, dramatic pointed arches and heavy bronze doors depicting bible scenes -- Trinity is known for its vibrant music program and dedication to outreach.
Long before the Alexander Hamilton Custom House was constructed in the early 1900s, the area served as an important trading place for Native Americans living in the region. The ornate building’s ode to commerce is not only a fitting home for the National Museum of the American Indian’s New York outpost—its exhibits and open-to-the public offerings have occupied parts of the building’s first and most of the second floor since 1994—it also offers visitors who make the trek to Manhattan’s far south a two-for-one: the historic Beau Arts building is an attraction in itself. Across from Battery Park, the finely detailed trapezoidal exterior sits squarely in a city block. Forty-four carved-out columns adorning its façade are topped with images of Mercury, the Roman God representing commerce, a reminder of the building’s original tenants who collected taxes on imported goods from the Port of New York, then the country’s most prosperous trading post. Seated sculptures representing America, Asia, Europe and Africa, were carved by the same sculptor who carved the statue in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. An equally elaborate marble interior culminates in colorful mosaics leading up to the domed rotunda, with its spectacular and light-infusing glass top. All of this was almost lost to time—its exterior granite covered in algae and plants and interior crumbling from disuse—but a complete restoration in the 1980s revitalized the building. The structure is listed as a National Historic Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places, and tours detailing the building’s architecture and history take place throughout the week (check in with the Visitor’s desk at the museum for times).
The New York Stock Exchange is an icon of commerce and capitalism. Synonymous with Wall Street, it’s the world’s largest stock exchange. It’s been closed to visitors since 9/11, but the impressive building’s Roman temple design makes an impressive photo stop, complete with soaring columns, carved pediment, lofty proportions, and fluttering US flags.
New York City Hall, the seat of New York City government, is located at the center of City Hall Park in the Civic Center area of Lower Manhattan, between Broadway, Park Row, and Chambers Street. The building is the oldest city hall in the United States that still houses its original governmental functions, such as the office of the Mayor of New York City and the chambers of the New York City Council. While the Mayor's Office is in the building, the staff of thirteen municipal agencies under mayoral control are located in the nearby Manhattan Municipal Building, one of the largest government buildings in the world. Constructed from 1803 to 1812, New York City Hall is a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Both its exterior (1966) and interior (1976) are designated New York City landmarks.
Located at 460 Madison Avenue, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest gothic-style Catholic Cathedral in the country, as well as the seat of Timothy Michael Dolan, the archbishop of New York. Completed in 1878, St. Patrick’s Cathedral welcomes more than five million visitors each year who come to take part in mass, light candles, attend choir and organ recitals, participate in public programs and view the art and design of the building. Before entering, take in the white marble exterior, pinnacles and 330-foot twin spires reaching toward the sky. Inside explore the many chapels of the church, each one named after a different saint. Additionally, the Rose Window is 26 feet in diameter and showcases a masterpiece of 20th-century century stained glass art. Note: If you’re interested in visiting the crypt where all the Archbisophs of New York are buried you’ll need to make an appointment.
Located at 881 Seventh Avenue in Midtown West, Carnegie Hall is a prestigious concert venue known for being an important cultural institution as well as a space where many notable musicians were able to break out. Opened in 1891, it is the place where Judy Garland made an album that won five Grammys in 1961, Benny Goodman elevated the status of swing music and produced one of history’s greatest-selling jazz albums in 1938, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., gave his last major public address of all time in 1968. Today, Carnegie Hall puts on about 250 high-quality classical and popular music performances each season. The architecture is another draw to the attraction, as it is one of the city’s last large buildings built entirely of masonry without a steel frame. Moreover, its Italian Renaissance design, eclectic international accents, intricate carvings, brick-insulated walls and high-ceilings allow for an elegant space with first-rate acoustics.
Manhattan's truly wonderful Grand Central Station (meticulously restored in the 1990s) is a train terminal in the grand tradition from the glory days of the nation's railroads. Built for the New York Central Railroad between 1903 and 1913, Grand Central is the world's largest train station and a vital New York attraction (even if catching a train is the last thing on your mind). The main features of the lofty, opulent Main Concourse are its huge arched windows, ticket booths, the famous four-faced clock, grand staircases, chandeliers and, up above, the cerulean blue ceiling gilded with astronomical details. Statues and a Tiffany glass clock dominate the Beaux Arts exterior. Join a public or private tour of the terminal's highlights, drop into the famous Oyster Bar while you're here, grab a snack at any number of food outlets, or join the 125,000 commuters who pick up a train or subway from Grand Central every day.
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is one of the oldest buildings in Morningside Heights (a neighborhood in Manhattan’s Upper West Side) and is the home of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. The historic cathedral is not only one of the oldest buildings in the area – it’s one of the most secretive. A tour through the cathedral yields the perceptive visitor many visual treasures, from a rare gold triptych by Keith Haring (his last work before his death) to an unusual sculpture of the Archangel Michael, the decapitated head of Satan, and nine giraffes (!). The cathedral is home the largest rose window in the United States (the fifth-largest in the world), constructed from 10,000 stained-glass pieces. Other stained-glass windows depict historic, religious, and modern scenes. The cathedral is also one of the few buildings in Manhattan that allows visitors to access its roof, which provides a fantastic view of the New York City skyline.

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