By definition grandiose, the world’s largest cathedral (unfinished since 1892) is worthy if you take away only some of the calmness it bestows upon its visitors.
But, before or after, either to become prepared or for relief, the sculpture garden to its south charms, even excites, spectators. One almost wishes to have dressed up for the occasion of a visit.
A massive, waterless, forty-foot-high Peace Fountain depicting nine giraffes, a lion, a lamb, a crab and supersized models of DNA molecules centers and overshadows a community of bronze fantastic beings placed to be discovered while circling the fountain.
It all is a reminder of Tom Otterness’s community of scallawags, Life Underground, installed in the 14th street 8th avenue subway station.
This kind of blessed yet secular charm is rare in New York.
Inside, organ recitals are held regularly on Mondays at 1pm and most Sundays at 5:15 pm.
After visiting, cross the street for some refreshment at either V&T (Italian and Pizzeria, in place since 1951) or the Hungarian Pastry Shop, both de facto lounges for students from Columbia University where one year of study costs $50,000 and housing an additional $20,000. Very New York.
Also nearby on Broadway is Tom’s, the old-fashioned Greek-style Manhattan restaurant, made famous by its use as the go-to meeting place of characters portrayed in Jerry Seinfeld’s long-running TV sitcom Seinfeld.
A recent fire may cause visitor disruptions (2019).
Take the 1 Train to 110th or 116th Street, walk one block east, then to 113th Street.