Sandwiched between glass high rises on either side, with Fifth Avenue lying at its front door, and Madison Avenue to its rear; St. Patrick's Cathedral stands in contrast to the surrounding buildings that house designer stores, hotels and restaurants. Across the street, the statue of Atlas, bearing the world on his shoulders, seems to be the only one that understands what it is to be from a different time.
The iconic building has a storied past. The very idea of its construction was once labeled "Hughes' Folly" after Archbishop John Hughes proposed building a gothic cathedral in the New World. The chosen site was considered to be a "near-wilderness location" and too far away from the actual city at the time. Nevertheless, Archbishop Hughes envisioned a cathedral that he believed would become "the heart of the city".
Work began on the Cathedral in 1858 but was halted due to the Civil War. Work resumed in 1865 and the cathedral was completed in 1878. Funds were raised through The Great Cathedral Fair in October and November of that year and the Cathedral was dedicated on May 25, 1879.
Image above: courtesy of Library of Congress
Contributor: Gottscho, Samuel H. (Samuel herman)
In 1914, the Cathedral survived one terrorist bombing while the church was full of attendees. Only one person was injured (a young boy had his head grazed by a piece of flying metal).
Over the years there have been additional, but thwarted, bomb plots and threats. North America's largest decorated Neo-Gothic-style Catholic Cathedral still stands as a landmark in New York City. Over one million candles are lit within her walls and over five million visitors enter her doors every year.
Clearly, "Hughes' folly" was nothing of the sort.
Archbishop Hughes' vision of a Cathedral that would become
"the heart of the city"
has truly come to pass.
Then the Lord answered me and said,
"Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets,
That the one who reads it may run.
~ Habakkuk 2:2 (NASB)
* Additional images are courtesy of Pixabay.