The Cathedral Church 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. Visitors may also walk through the cathedral’s ‘biblical garden,’ where all the plants are species mentioned in the bible, and check out the peacocks, the impressive fountain, and the honeybees.
Please note that there is limited access to the cathedral on Sundays – full access is only between 1 and 3 p.m. The grounds and gardens are open during daylight hours. The cathedral is wheelchair accessible from the upper driveway, on Amsterdam Avenue between 111th and 112th streets. Lifts inside provide access to eastern areas of the Cathedral.