Prettiest Upper West Side Churches

The Upper West Side is home to all sorts of eye-popping beauty, from bucolic blocks to majestic mansions.  Here are, in no particular order, the prettiest Upper West Side churches. Some are pretty on the outside, some on the inside, and others are beautiful inside and out.

 

Cathedral of St. John the Divine

1047 Amsterdam Ave

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, an Episcopal church, is a massive beauty near Columbia University on 112th.  It began construction in 1892, and was originally designed in the Byzantine Revival-Romanesque Revival styles.  The plan was changed after 1909 to a Gothic Revival design.  This Cathedral was landmarked by the city of New York in 2017.  A fire in 2001 caused parts of the church to close until 2008. St John is the largest cathedral in the world, and one of the five largest churches in the world

Cathedral of St. John The Divine

photo by Kripa Chettiar

St John Divine Morningside Heights

photo by Randy OHC

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Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew

263 West 86th Street

With origins back to the early 19th century, the Church of St Paul & St Andrew, designed in the style of “scientific eclecticism”, was known in the early twentieth century for its paid choral quartets, which at one point included famed Met Opera singer Eleanor Steber.  During the exodus by many to the suburbs in the sixties, the Church’s outreach, including the West Side Campaign Against Hunger, made it an important part of the Upper West Side.

St Paul. St. Andrew Church

 

 

Riverside Church

490 Riverside Drive

The Riverside Church, on Riverside Drive and 120th, is modeled after a 13th Century gothic cathedral in Chartres, France.  It is located at one of the highest points of the city, overlooking the Hudson. Spanning two city blocks, it began construction in 1927, holding its first service in 1930.  You’ll find no shortage of stained glass and intricate stonework inside this structure.

Riverside Church Morningside Heights

Riverside Church NYC

photo by Mike Steele

 

Church of the Blessed Sacrament

152 West 71st Street

The parish of the Blessed Sacrament was formed in 1887.  The first version of the church began construction just west of the current one that year. Responding to growth of the congregation, the larger, current church began construction in 1917.  Gustave E. Steinbach, a 37-years-old graduate of Columbia University School of Architecture, was chosen as the architect for the new church and school.  He was inspired by the Sainte Chapelle in Paris, a small gothic chapel built in the 1240s. The church, sandwiched between apartment buildings, has a beautiful interior that’s truly worth visiting.

Church of the Blessed Sacrament

photo by Jim.henderson

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David Cunningham

David Cunningham

Contributor
David Cunningham is a blogger and software developer living in the Upper West Side. He loves writing, running around Riverside Park, shopping at Fairway and Zabar’s, and working on web apps in his free time. He moved to New York in 2018 after spending five years working as a developer in Huntsville, Alabama (the home of Space Camp). He is currently building a tech blog platform called Dabbling In, and you can learn more about him at his website, cunningdj.com

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