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
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. If you want to get a closer and more intimate look at this church, they’ll be participating in 2019’s Open House New York Weekend.
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.
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.For more beautiful things, join our newsletter!