Founded in 1823, Saint Thomas Church was incorporated in the City of New York on January 9, 1824, by members from three downtown parishes who wanted to establish a church in their own neighborhood on the northern edge of "settled" Manhattan. The first edifice was at Broadway and Houston Streets.
The present Saint Thomas Church is actually the fourth building in the remarkable history of a great New York parish.Designed by the distinguished architectural firm of Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson and completed in 1913, Saint Thomas Church is built in the French High Gothic style, with stone ornamentation of the later Flamboyant period in the windows, small arches of the triforium, and stonework surrounding the statuary in the reredos. The flat wall behind the altar is characteristic of English cathedrals, and the magnificent reredos, one of the largest in the world, is strongly suggestive of the single, massive windows that terminate the naves of many English churches designed in the Perpendicular style.
Except for its length, Saint Thomas is of cathedral proportions, with the nave vault rising 95 feet above the floor. The church is built completely of stone, according to medieval construction principles, using load-bearing rib vaulting without the space-spanning benefits of steel. The size, spacing, and number of columns and arches are precisely what is necessary to support the structure - and give it the unique acoustical properties associated with churches built of the same materials and in the same way during the Middle Ages. Because much of the music presented in concert at Saint Thomas was composed for use in these churches - not in the concert hall - Saint Thomas Church provides an authentic space in which this music can be heard today. Add to the sound the sight of a magnificent Gothic interior and you have an experience that is hard to surpass in New York.
Guided Tours & Self-Guided Tours
To appreciate fully the treasure that is Saint Thomas, you may wish to take the guided tour following the 11am service on Sundays.Always check the website calendar first, since various calendar considerations impact the availablity of the tour on any particular Sunday. Bring binoculars and look closely at the stained-glass windows in the clerestory. You may also want to avail yourself of the pamphlet on the architecture of the church which can be found in the narthex
Our church doors are open 365 days a year. See a listing of hours here. If you visit the church on a weekday, you are free to look around and take photos, but do not take photos during worship services. You may also contact us prior to your visit if you would like to meet with someone to show you around.
The Capital Campaign for Windows and Organ
As our current church building nears its centinary, we are in the midst of a significant Capital Campaign to restore the stained glass windows and replace our ailing great organ. Read more about the campaign here. If you enjoy a visit to Saint Thomas, please consider a gift of any amount to ensure the church remains open and fully operational for generations to come.
Extreme width: 100 feet
Extreme length: 214 feet
Width of Nave: 43 feet between columns
Height of Nave: 95 feet from pavement to vault
Reredos: 43 feet wide, 80 feet high, containing over 80 figures designed by sculptor Lee Lawrie.
Rose window: 25 feet in diameter
Clerestory windows: 18 feet wide, 32 feet high
Chancel Organ: 119 stops, 160 ranks, 8,916 pipes (ranging in length from the size of a pencil to thirty-two feet)
Gallery Organ: 22 stops, 32 ranks, 1700 pipes
Bell Tower: 15 stories high, housing 26 bells
Come and Worship
in our magnificent church
We offer 1000 masses a year
and 200 choral services.
See the full worship calendar.