St. Paul's Chapel

St. Paul's Chapel

By the middle of the 18th century when the population of New York grew almost twofold, the Trinity Church administration decided to build a chapel for the parishioners living in the distant neighborhoods of the city. In 1766 St. Paul's Chapel was built on Broadway. It stands as a monument to independence, here prayed George Washington after he was sworn in as a US president in 1789. The chapel miraculously survived in the Great New York Fire of 1776. Today the chapel is the only remaining colonial church structure in Manhattan and the oldest public building in constant use.

Probably the most tragic days the chapel has seen were on September 11, 2001, when it survived the terror attacks and became shelter for hundreds of people fleeing the rubble and destruction left by the WTC twin towers tumbling down. Here was also a place where those who were helping to clear the rubble could find some rest. Today when you come closer to the chapel you can see a lot of white ribbons commemorating those events. Inside the chapel there is a small memorial with photographs and personal belongings of the victims and firefighters' uniforms. In the backyard you will find a small old cemetery and a bell, which is actually a gift from the Mayor of London as a sign of solidarity and memory of the lives lost on 9/11.

As one of the towers was crushing down one of its constructions hit a sycamore tree that had been growing over the graveyard for almost a century. The impact was so strong that the tree resulted plucked out from the ground with its roots, however by miracle not a single gravestone was damaged and not a single stained glass window of the chapel was broken. The exact copy of the sycamore roots were immortalized in a bronze sculpture by Steve Tobin and placed next to the Trinity Church.

Address: 209 Broadway
Opening hours: daily 10 am – 6 pm.
How to reach: subway Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall (6), Chambers St (A, C, E), Broadway-Nassau St (A, C, 2, 3, 4, 5).