The main houses of worship of Trinity Wall Street are Trinity Church and St. Paul's Chapel. These are two of the nation's most historic churches - known for their outreach, music, and architectural beauty. The churches are five blocks apart, connected by Broadway, and a visit to both makes good use of a morning or afternoon.
The current church building is the third Trinity Church building to sit at the corner of Broadway and Wall Streets. Designed by American Institute of Architects co-founder Richard Upjohn, it was consecrated in 1846 and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This church building is one of the first and finest examples of Neo-Gothic architecture in the United States.
The Trinity Churchyard is an oasis of green grass and trees inside the city's financial district. Bring lunch and grab a seat on the steps of the Soldier's Monument, which honors Revolutionary War soldiers held prisoner in the City of New York. Then scout out some of the history the churchyard has to offer.
While the entire Trinity churchyard is worthy of a leisurely stroll and stone-gazing, if you're pressed for time, here are three particularly interesting ones. Alexander Hamilton, who graces the ten-dollar bill, is buried here. Our oldest stone belongs to little Richard Churcher, a Dutch boy who died in 1681. And then there's Charlotte Temple - who may, or may not, have ever existed at all. You can pick up a churchyard guide inside the church or explore the churchyard here.
You might also choose to organize your trip around an opportunity to hear some live music. The renowned Trinity Choir calls the parish its home. To see when they are singing, check their schedule, or, come to the 11:15 am Sunday service. Also check our calendar for services and performances utilizing Trinity's one-of-a-kind Marshall and Ogletree organ.
Don't miss the bronze doors at Trinity's main entrance. They feature sculpted biblical scenes and are memorial to John Jacob Astor III, who is buried with is family in the uptown Trinity Cemetery and Mausoleum.
The baptistry, on the north side of the nave, contains a fifteenth-century alter and early Italian Renaissance triptych. Don't miss the stained glass windows, considered to be some of the oldest in the United States. The windows were made on site, in a shed erected in the churchyard during the church's construction.
Located in the north sacristy in Trinity Church is the cenotaph to Bishop Onderdonk, a nineteenth century Bishop of New York. In 1845, he was suspended by the General Convention for "licentious conduct", though many believed church politics were behind his suspension. Trinity Church offered the fallen Bishop financial and spiritual support throughout his ordeal. The cenotaph is both a tribute to Onderdonk and dig at his critics: he's pictured in full cope and mitre, with the "serpent of slander" curled at his feet.
After you've paid your respects to Bishop Onderdonk, explore All Saints' Chapel, added to the church in 1913 in honor of the Rev. Dr. Morgan Dix, rector from 1862-1908.
Walking five blocks north on Broadway will bring you to St. Paul's Chapel. Built in 1766, St. Paul's became known as "The Little Chapel that Stood" after surviving the 2001 terror attacks unscathed, despite its proximity to the World Trade Center site. St. Paul's currently hosts an exhibit honoring the volunteers who served ground zero's recovery workers in the months after 9/11.
George Washington worshipped at St. Paul's Chapel following his inauguration, and his modest pew box still sits in the north aisle. Above the pew box is a 1785 oil painting of The Great Seal of the United States. Directly across the church from Washinton's pew is the Governor's pew box, installed for visits by New York State's governors. The Arms of the State of New York, another eighteenth century oil painting, hang over the Governor's pew box.
Look up and around the ceiling-there are fourteen cut glass chandeliers, originally installed in 1802 and fitted to hold candles. They were removed in 1857 when St. Paul's was lit with gas, and returned and refitted for electricity in 1925.
The magnificent work of art that appears in the center of the windows behind the alter is the "Glory" altarpiece. It was designed by architect Pierre L'Enfant, the planner of the District of Columbia, and honors General Richard Montgomery, an American general killed in the Revolutionary War.
Travel by subway to another major parish site - the Trinity Cemetery and Mausoleum. There, in a stunning setting overlooking the Hudson River, you'll find the graves of Clement Clarke Moore, author of The Night Before Christmas, as well as John James Audubon and prominent horticulturalists. The cemetery is one of New York's best kept secrets.