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Visit historic Catholic sites in New York

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Everything from the bones of saints to awe-inspiring architecture!

The New York Times released "A Tourist's Guide to Catholic New York," indicating which prominent locations in New York City stand out for their Catholic annotations and historic relevance.

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NEW YORK CITY, NY (Catholic Online) - People have made a journey to New York since the erection of the Statue of Liberty. The Big Apple is known for its iconic skylines, posh shopping district, innovative food industry and what are simply referred to as "the sights."

The sights include The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Apollo Theater, Brooklyn Bridge, the Chrysler Building and several other noteworthy attractions -but if you want to connect with Catholic-themed historical sites, refer to the following list:

St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church

You can find St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church at 22 Barclay St. in New York City. The parish was founded in 1785 following the American Revolution and was the first Catholic church in New York City.

In 1800, it became New York's first free Catholic school and in 1834, the building was erected. Daily mass continues to this day and the architecture is beautiful with stained-glass windows, crystal chandeliers and exterior stone columns.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Shrine

Located at 7 State St, New York, the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Shrine once housed Mother Seton and her family. In 1961, Our Lady of the Rosary Church was built on the site and houses a piece of Seton's bones.

St. Patrick's Old Cathedral

St, Patrick's Old Cathedral can be found at 263 Mulberry St, New York. It was built in 1815 and was renovated for the papal visit by St. Francis. The wall surrounding the graveyard is known to represent a time when Catholicism was under attack by groups such as the Know-Nothing Party.

The church's outer wall has slits to defend with muskets and was symbolic of what American Catholics endured in those days. Journalist and historian Terry Golway, said, "It was very defensive. For a time, those walls were necessary."

Tammany Hall

Tammany Hall, found at 152 Orchard St, New York, was a name given to the Democratic Party political machine, which controlled New York politics and helped thousands of immigrants -particularly the Irish in exchange for power.

Golway, who also wrote Machine Made: Tammany Hall and the Creation of Modern American Politics stated, "Coal in the winter, turkey at Christmas, a job, a nod, a wink -in exchange for these services, the Irish were expected to get out and vote. It was a transaction."

St. Frances Cabrini Shrine

At 701 Fort Washington Ave, New York you will find St. Frances Cabrini Shrine, where the saint's body and modeled wax head -the real one resides in Rome- can be found in a glass coffin on the alter. A gilded marble mural behind the coffin depicts her life and has recently been refurbished. 
Mother Cabrini opened a villa to help immigrant farmers and to educate girls during the late 1800s when Italian immigrants began flooding the streets of New York. 

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Lower East Side Tenement Museum

The museum is located at 103 Orchard St, New York. It housed five to 10 families from 1863 to 1935 in 325-square-foot, three room apartments.

A walk-through of the building shows how people once lived. Some of the apartments have remain untouched while others have been refurbished.  The building did not get electricity until 1924 and soon after received indoor plumbing. 

In 1935, the landlord evicted the residents, sealed the upper floors and boarded up windows to keep the basement and storefronts open for business. It wasn't until 1988 that the building was partially restored and in 1994 it was filed as a National historic Site.

St. Joseph House

The St. Joseph House is actually a network of community centers, with the original homeless shelter found at 36 East 1st Street. Social activist, journalist, Catholic and anarchist Dorothy Day co-founded the "houses of hospitality" in 1936. 

Other community outreaches stemming from St. Joseph's house include Sisters of St. Joseph, Saint Joe's House of Hospitality, Joseph's House for Women and St. Joseph's House and Shelter, which currently houses 25 men and women.

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