Saint Paul Chapel, New York City

4.5 out of 5 stars 27 Reviews

209 Broadway, New York, NY 10007 (212) 602-0800

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  • St. Paul's Chapel, New York
    St. Paul's Chapel, New York
    by antistar
  • St. Paul's Chapel, New York
    St. Paul's Chapel, New York
    by antistar
  • Church graveyard
    Church graveyard
    by leics
  • kbl's Profile Photo

    London and New York united in grief

    by kbl Written Dec 22, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    On September 11, 2002, 1 year after the attacks of 9/11, the mayor of London presented this bell to the city of New York. It's located in the garden of the Chapel, on the backside, close to ground zero.

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    St Paul's Chapel

    by leics Updated Sep 29, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is Manhattan's oldest public building still in continual use. Not the oldest site of worship in continual use....that is Trinity Church on Wall Street......but the oldest existing structure. Trinity Church was built in 1698, but that version burned down in the fire of 1776. The second building was demolished after damage caused by winter storms in the late 1830s and the existing building dates from 1846).

    So St Paul's, dating from 1766, is now the oldest church in Manhattan.

    George Washington worshipped there (you can see his special pew) and the graveyard is full of very early graves. It's worth wandering to read some of the epitaphs.

    It is also the place which offered food, rest, beds,comfort and a little peace to the hundreds of 9/11 rescuers. Given the chapel's close proximity to Ground Zero it is amazing that not even a pane of glass was shattered in the church.

    I'd have visited the place for its antiquity alone. But, post 9/11, it has become a 'must-see' for the thousands of tourists making their pilgrimage to Ground Zero. For inside the church are displays relating to its functions during that time, displays of banners and cards, police badges and photos.

    It's a moving experience to read the messages.

    In the churchyard is the 'Bell of Hope', given to St Paul's by the Lord Mayor of London on the first anniversary of 9/11. The bell is rung on each anniversary.

    So...whether for its history or for its role post 9/11, or both, St Paul's Chapel is a must-see. Imo.

    St Paul's exterior Police badges Church graveyard Church interior A gravestone
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  • antistar's Profile Photo

    St. Paul's Chapel

    by antistar Written May 31, 2013

    Trinity is not the only old church buried deep inside the skyscrapers of New York's Financial District. Right below the towering One World Trade Center is St. Paul's Chapel, the oldest church in Manhattan. It was built in 1766 and survived catastrophes that destroyed nearby buildings, like the Great Fire of 1776 and the attacks of September 11th. In fact when the twin towers collapsed, the chapel not only survived, it was left standing without even a window being broken. It became a place of sanctuary for rescue workers during the long days after.

    St. Paul's Chapel, New York St. Paul's Chapel, New York

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  • krismsong's Profile Photo

    Oldest Church in NYC and 9/11 Memorial

    by krismsong Updated Mar 3, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you are downtown definitely take the time to visit Trinity Church and St. Paul's Chapel. This Wall Street parish is the oldest public building in New York, was where George Washington went to worship after his inauguration as the first President of the United States, and the site where Alexander Hamilton (the first Secretary of Treasury and image on the $10 bill) is buried. These two sites are filled with colonial history as well as more recent history from September 11th. Both are very moving. If you want more detail, check out my blog at http://uniquetoNYC.blogspot.com

    Trinity Church Alexander Hamilton's Grave Oldest grave from 1600s St. Paul's Chapel
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  • marielexoteria's Profile Photo

    St. Paul's chapel: a mighty survivor

    by marielexoteria Updated Mar 17, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Ground Zero was one of the "tourist places" that I didn't really want to visit but I ended up there a few times by walking to the Staten Island ferry or taking the PATH train to and from Newark Penn.

    While walking on Broadway, I found this chapel. What I first liked was the brown-ish and white colors but when I got closer I realized that it was St. Paul's chapel. This chapel is not only the oldest building (still standing) in the city but a survivor of 2 major disasters:

    - The Great Fire of 1776
    - Sept 11, 2001: when the twin towers collapsed

    And it was host to George Washington on his Inauguration day as president of the US.

    In the premises, you'll find a small cemetery and a big bronze bell, that was given to the city of New York by the city of London on the first anniversary of Sept. 11.

    St. Paul's chapel Let's never forget
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  • MM212's Profile Photo

    Saint Paul's Chapel

    by MM212 Updated Oct 29, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    New York's oldest surviving building, Saint Paul's Chapel was built in 1764. It has a Neoclassical façade topped by a spire, inspired by Saint-Martin-in-the-Fields in London, albeit using the local New York brownstone as building material. This style of churches was popular in New England at the time. The interior of the church is very Georgian, with Corinthian columns and a barrel vaulted ceiling. Saint Paul's Chapel is separated from the World Trade Center site by a cemetery, yet the church was miraculously untouched during the collapse of the twin towers.

    St Paul's Chapel - Oct 09 Side View The Georgian Interior The spire - Oct 09
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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Best Free Thing #7 - St. Paul's Chapel

    by goodfish Updated Mar 3, 2009

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Surrounded by a forest of 20th-century steel and glass, this modest stone chapel and antique churchyard look strangely out of place. You might guess it be just another of those preserved bits of the past - mostly empty, with a few plaques and a lone attendant drowsing in a corner. Far from it. Although it's the oldest public building in Manhattan, St. Paul's is very much alive and well, thanks to, some say, divine intervention and a sycamore tree.

    St. Paul's was built in 1766, when the ground it stands on was a field outside of the city proper. Georgian Classic-Revival in style, the purpose was to provide a more accessible place of worship for persons living some distance away from the main parish church. During the brief time that New York served as the nation's capital, George Washington was a member - worshipping here on his inauguration day in 1789 and attending services until the capital was moved to Philadelphia in 1790. James Monroe, 5th president of the United States and third to die on July 4th, was given an impressive funeral here in 1831. Over the next 170 years, various other presidents and persons of note visited St. Paul's and by the advent of the millennium, an impressive roster of historic guests - and sheer age - were reasons enough for its prominent place in the annals. Then came 9/11...

    On that horrific September morning, St Paul's - which stood in the very shadow of the WTC towers - should have not have survived the violent collapse that caused irreparable damage to other larger, stronger and much newer structures in the immediate area. Miraculously, it emerged intact - covered in a deep layer of ash, paper and other fallout but saved, they believe, by a sycamore tree that had shielded the structure from the worst of debris storm before toppling into the churchyard. Its faithful also believe it was spared for a purpose - that of ministering to a large group of individuals who were about to embark on the most challenging, heartbreaking effort anyone could imagine.

    Almost immediately, clergy, congregation and countless other good samaritans swung into action and converted the sanctuary into a mission of comfort and support - both physical and spiritual - for firefighters, police personnel and other rescue and recovery workers at the WTC site. For 9 months hundreds of volunteers provided clean clothing, cots and bedding for rest between long shifts, medical care for tired and battered feet, hot meals around the clock, and compassionate hands to hold. Today, St. Paul's stands as a shining example of the worst of times bringing out the best in people, and what loving one's neighbor is truly about.

    Among the many artifacts to see at the church are:
    • Post 9/11 poems, letters and other memorials sent from around the world
    • Cross and chalice of salvaged metal from the wreckage
    • Priest's chasuble covered with patches sent in sympathy from rescue organizations world-wide
    • Peace Bell, cast at the same foundry as the Liberty Bell and Big Ben, presented as a gift of the people of London
    • George Washington's pew

    Hours: 10 am - 6 pm M-F; 8 am - 3 pm Saturdays; 7 am - 3 pm Sundays. Donations gratefully accepted. Do take a wander in the churchyard - lots of interesting inscriptions on the oldest stones!

    Banner, St Paul's Chapel Sanctuary, St Paul's Chapel Memorial artifacts, St. Paul's Chapel Washington's pew, St. Paul's Chapel 1769 tombstone, St. Paul's churchyard
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    Moving Tributes at St. Paul's

    by Paris92 Written Jan 19, 2009

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    So many people have mentioned this brave little building in their pages that I almost didn’t include it, but considering how impressive it is, I thought it was worth yet another mention. I say brave because no matter what happens in New York, it just seems to keep on going. (It’s situated just yards from the World Trade Center, but somehow emerged unscathed as it did after a massive fire torched the city in 1776.) There’s already so much about the history of it on VT that I won’t go through it again, but suffice it to say, that if you still want to pay your respects to the either the victims or the heroes of 9/11, this is the place to do it. In fact, as it’s now essentially a shrine to that tragedy, I would say to prepare yourself before entering. It’s as profound an experience as one can have, but a grueling one as well. Even as a native New Yorker, I’ve heard dozens of first-hand accounts of that day, but nothing has ever affected me more than this church. I was glad I went, but sadly, in some ways, just as glad to leave.

    Something didn’t feel right to me about taking pictures of the 9/11 tributes (although I understand if people did), so my pictures mostly focus on other aspects of the church. It’s a stunning building well worth seeing.

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  • a5floor's Profile Photo

    St Paul's Chapel.

    by a5floor Updated Oct 19, 2008

    In this church 2 major things happened. First: in 1789 George Washington worshipped here after is inauguration in 1789. Second: after the fatal day on 11 September 2001 this church became a spiritual support center for those who needs it.

    The building has Classic Revival brownstone.

    www.saintpaulschapel.org
    Phone: +1-212-602-0800

    St Paul's Chapel. St Paul's Chapel. St Paul's Chapel. St Paul's Chapel. St Paul's Chapel.
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  • Jenniflower's Profile Photo

    St Paul's Chapel

    by Jenniflower Written Aug 25, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    St Paul's church is the church that stands next to Ground Zero, and was pivotal in helping everyone on 9/11.

    The master craftsman of this stunning building was Andrew Gautier. It is in the Georgian Classic-Revival style, and resembles St. Martin-in-the-Fields to a certain extent (although Saint Martin's has a higher steeple, and an underground restaurant!).

    We peeked inside and couldn't do much as there was a Baptism service going on.

    The next bit of info is from their site:

    Quote: 'The Extraordinary Ministry of St. Paul's Chapel

    September 2001-May 2002

    After the attack on September 11, 2001, which led to the collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, St. Paul's Chapel served as a place of rest and refuge for recovery workers at the WTC site.

    For eight months, hundreds of volunteers worked 12 hour shifts around the clock, serving meals, making beds, counseling and praying with fire fighters, construction workers, police and others. Massage therapists, chiropractors, podiatrists and musicians also tended to their needs.

    Today, St. Paul's continues as an active part of the Parish of Trinity Church, holding services, weekday concerts, occasional lectures, and providing a shelter for the homeless.'

    I feel I cannot say it any better - they have done so much for the community, which is absolutely fabulous.

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  • DanielF's Profile Photo

    Remember the 9/11 Victims

    by DanielF Updated Aug 12, 2008

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    Another of the most notable buildings on Broadway, St. Paul's Chapel, part of the Parish of Trinity Church, is a small 18th century Georgian style church which is considered to be the oldest public building in continuous use in New York City. It was modelled after London's Church of Saint-Martin-in-the-Fields, displaying also a portico and a slender bell tower, but in smaller scale.

    Despite its significance in the early years of New York City, most of the visitors to the chapel these days are more interested in the improvised memorial banners, pictures and other paraphernalia that the people of New York spontaneously placed on the fence to the victims of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center (from which the church was miraculously spared and completely undamaged). For the contentment of the tourists, new exhibits have been added relating to the World Trade Center tragedy.

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  • bladedragon's Profile Photo

    St. Paul's Chapel

    by bladedragon Updated Jul 13, 2008

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    Nothing much I can say about this chapel, we didn't even go inside.

    What catches my attention is the sign that says:
    "Established in 1766"
    "Manhattan's Oldest Public Building in Continuous Use"
    "Witness to the Great Fire of 1776"
    "Host to George Washington on Inauguration Day"
    "Survivor to the Terrorist Attach on September 11, 2001"

    Interesting Sign St. Paul's Chapel

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  • King_Golo's Profile Photo

    St. Paul's Church

    by King_Golo Updated Jan 17, 2008

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    Originally a small church amidst a nice church yard which probably was mostly overlooked by businessmen and tourists, St. Paul's became sort of famous after 9/11. Despite standing directly next to the World Trade Center site, it survived the attacks without a scratch! It then served as a sort of organizational headquarters of helping hands: firemen and voluntary workers could find pastoral care here, they could sleep and rest for some time on quickly erected beds and mattresses. Desperate survivors pinned hundreds and hundreds of photos of missing persons on the fence of the church. St. Paul's became kind of a symbol - surviving in the middle of an apocalyptic catastrophe. Nowadays, there is a small exhibition about its role in the aftermath of 9/11. Apparently, a more detailed exhibition is planned: when I was there, a DVD show about the time after the attacks and what happened then in St. Paul's was just being tested.

    Photos exhibited in St. Paul's church
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  • TexasDave's Profile Photo

    St. Paul's Chapel

    by TexasDave Updated Dec 28, 2007

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    Built in 1766, this is the only pre-Revolutionary War church remaining in NYC. George Washington came here to pray after being inaugurated as the 1st president. His personal pew is on display. The interior is lit by impressive Waterford crystal chandeliers.
    Due to its proximity to the World Trade Center this was a key resting place for rescue workers after the Sept 11 terrorist attacks. It has now been converted into a memorial shrine for the victims and the rescue workers. One of the cots used by workers remains in place, still grungy but made up.

    An interesting detail is in the sunburst above the altar. In two different places the Hebrew tetragrammaton, "YHWH", or Jehovah in English, was engraved .

    Police and Firemen's patches sent in support 10 Commandments w God's Name above
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  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    St. Paul's Chapel, the oldest church in NYC

    by Jefie Updated Dec 16, 2007

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    Completed in 1766, St. Paul's Chapel is the city's oldest public building still in use, and the only church remaining from the pre-American revolution era. It was modelled after London's St. Martin-in-the-Fields, in a Georgian Classic-Revival style. Concerts and recitals are often held at St. Paul's, and visitors are welcome to attend free of charge (we happened to catch a group of university classical music students, and they were incredibly talented). It is also possible to visit the church's cemetery and see the roots of what has become known as the "miracle sycamore": On September 11, 2001, the attacks on the World Trade Center sent debris flying everywhere, and St. Paul's Chapel was spared all damage when a sycamore that stood in the cemetery was hit by a metal beam. During the months that followed the WTC tragedy, St. Paul's Chapel provided food and shelter to the many recovery workers, and 400 panels were set around the church for what became a memorial to the victims of 9/11.

    St. Paul's Church, as seen from the cemetery
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