A Look Inside New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral

The historic St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York has been undergoing a $187 million restoration for the past three years, and the restoration is now approaching completion. The completion will coincide with Pope Francis’s first visit to the U.S. on September 24. He will lead an evening prayer at the cathedral upon his arrival.

Raymond Pepi / Building Conservation Associates

Raymond Pepi / Building Conservation Associates

The cathedral was designed by American architect James Renwick, Jr., and completed in 1888. In 1976, it was declared a national landmark.


Architecture firm Murphy Burnham & Buttrick and more than 150 workers helped with the restoration. During the entire restoration process, the church remained open to accommodate its approximately 5 million annual visitors.


The cathedral’s marble exterior was covered in scaffolding and cleaned with a Rotec system to remove dirt and other grime. The interior’s 75 stained-glass windows and 9,200-pound bronze doors were also cleaned and repaired. Every church pew was removed from the cathedral to be sanded and re-stained, and the organ was taken apart to make more room for the restoration work.


Murphy Burnham & Buttrick recreated the original color palette of the cathedral to freshen up the wood-and-painted-plaster ceiling, and the floors were slightly buffered.


The entire heating and cooling system was replaced, and geothermal wells positioned 2,200 feet below ground were added to connect the new system to the cathedral. A rewired auto system and high-definition monitors have also been added to the cathedral.


To learn more about the restoration, visit saintpatrickscathedral.org.

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