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St. Patrick's Old Cathedral brick wall

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Deteriorating wall where people congregate

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : Little Italy
Infrastructure, Place of Worship

Place Matters Profile

Gravity” and “magic” are perhaps not words that one should associate with a church, but the walls around Little Italy’s St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral seem to be animated by a force of their own. The massive brick stockade bulges and undulates as if it were breathing -- a striking juxtaposition to the utter stillness of the cemetery it encloses. Although the walls could not prevent death from reaching forebears buried in the graveyard, St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral is now over two hundred years old and still thriving, proof positive that the walls have more than served their protective purpose.

Between 1728 and 1845, Ireland experienced twenty-four potato famines, each of which precipitated a mass exodus of rural, largely Catholic, refugees to the United States. Unfortunately, the centuries-old tension between Protestants and Catholics traversed the Atlantic Ocean, and even the earliest Irish Roman Catholics to wash ashore in New York City...

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St. Patrick's Old Cathedral


Ann Farmer

It's beautiful. It has an amazing slant and it surrounds a vital church, old cemetery and beautiful full grown trees. And the wall is a gathering place for different neighborhood groups--Asian, Italian, Latino, artists

Tom Vitullo-Martin

A couple of years back, walking through the area, I stopped into the church because I heard singing. I listened to a beautiful a'cappella, soprano singing of the Ave Maria. Glorious. (March 2012)

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