St. Bartholomew's Church

Saint Bartholomew's Church

St. Bartholomew’s Church, situated on East 50th Street in the Midtown/Manhattan area of New York, is considered a loving and welcoming haven for those seeking a bit of spirituality within the hustle and bustle of New York. The church is architecturally stunning and attracts thousands of people who are amazed by the beauty of it construction.

Built in 1918, many people are familiar with St. Bart’s because of an intense legal battle that involved the church, parishioners and city officials. The church was considering selling its community house to developers in order to build a skyscraper in its place. At the objection of worshippers and New York State officials, the Supreme Court ruled that there was a strong need to conserve landmark buildings and therefore saved the church.

Today, St. Bart’s is well known for other things besides its architecture. The church’s choirs and organists put on regular music concerts and many flock to the popular Café St. Bart’s to enjoy the outdoor terrace and excellent cuisine. Organized tours are run every week to accommodate the many visitors to the place. There is always something happening at St. Bartholomew’s and it has become a popular hub of activity in New York City’s cultural scene. No visit to New York City is complete without a visit to St. Bartholomew’s.

The Church Music

Music plays an important part in the attraction of St. Bartholomew’s. The church realizes that music tends to hold a universal appeal and therefore uses this tool as much as possible to reach out to people and bring them to the church to hear what they have to offer.

St. Bartholomew’s is home to one of the most beautiful organs in the world. It contains 168 stops and accompanies most of the church’s musical programs, including its choirs and chamber music performances. A visit to St. Bart’s is a must, if only to hear this magnificent instrument build by Aeolian/Skinner Organ Company.

Many people flock to St. Bart’s to hear the voices of the choristers who sing with one of several choirs. A group of professional choral singers make up the St. Bartholomew’s Choir. This choir sings every Sunday in the church, and also performs at major concerts throughout the year, including the church’s own Summer Festival of Sacred Music.

Another choir that is worth seeking out is the St. Bart’s Boys and Girls Choristers, made up of children between grades 1 and 12 who practice several times a week and perform at Sunday services throughout the year.

Other choirs that regularly perform are the St. Bart’s Singers and the Schola Cantorum that performs unison song and sings plainsong. Another much-loved ensemble is the Handbell Choir which performs on a set of English handbells and accompany some of the regular vocal choirs.

The Great Music Series is an all-year-round event where St. Bartholomew’s offers weekly performances of some of the greatest music of all times. Visitors can enjoy pipe-organ recitals, string quartets, choral music, Christmas carols and even jazz. Music is suited to every season and holiday and it is advisable to check the series’ schedule to see what’s coming up.

A trip to New York in summer should definitely include a visit to St. Bart’s to enjoy a taste of the Summer Festival of Sacred Music. Every Sunday, choral works are performed at the 11 am service by world-class choirs. Performances by guest-choirs from around the globe are regularly given throughout the season. Enjoy a welcome respite from the heat of the summer months in the air-conditioned church, listening to some of the loveliest music ever written.

The Architecture

St. Bartholomew’s, built in Romanesque style with Byzantium influence, is one of the most beautiful buildings in the area of New York. It was designed by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue and built in 1918. Practically every doorway within the church depicts images and figures from the Bible.

One of the most notable features of St. Bart’s is undoubtedly its dome that was completed in 1930. This magnificent structure, which towers 148 feet above street level, is divided into 8 sections, with each section covered by a mosaic cross made from marble.

Another attractive architectural feature of the church is the large frieze that contains three big arches. The frieze depicts famous images from the Old as well as the New Testament, including Adam and Eve, the betrayal of Jesus and the Israelites being led to freedom by Moses.

The Food

St. Bartholomew’s is more than a place to see lovely architecture and enjoy top-class music. Visitors will enjoy dining in the only restaurant in a landmarked church in New York City by visiting Café St. Barts. The restaurant offers both indoor dining, as well as a lovely terrace where food is served outside in pleasant weather. The cuisine is Nouveau American, using fresh, local ingredients wherever possible. Emphasis is placed on hospitality and professionalism. Café St. Bart’s also offers meeting and events planning services for visitors who need assistance with anything ranging from a breakfast to an evening reception.

Visiting Saint Bartholomew's Church, NYC

One of the key attractions of St. Bartholomew’s is its multi-disciplinary approach to religion and its acceptance of people of different denominations into its fold. As such, St. Bart’s is not yet another church in the heart of New York City. The structure is always buzzing with life, whether with its beautiful choral performances, its famous theater group or a group of tourists examining the stunning designs of the building.

St. Bart’s also runs a charity soup kitchen, homeless shelter, medical van and other facilities to help the poor of New York. Its vibrant community center boasts a swimming pool, a dance studio, preschool and a very successful summer camp.

There is something unique in the way that St. Bartholomew’s has managed to take the spirituality of religion and transfer it to contemporary culture. The fact that so many people visit this church to appreciate the music, art and architecture attests to the fact that the church’s mission has definitely succeeded.

Location: at 109 East 50th Street on the east side of Park Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets, New York City, New York
Phone: 212-378-0222

Click here to visit Saint Bartholomew's Church official website