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“Overlooked...so take advantage”
Review of St. Thomas Church

St. Thomas Church
Ranked #76 of 1,131 things to do in New York City
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: Built in 1913, this impressive church contains statues of more than 40 saints and bishops.
Reviewed September 8, 2011

One of Midtown's GREAT destinations. I've walked by this place literally 100's of times without giving it a second thought. A curator friend of mine asked me to take a walk one day and we ended up here. Whoa baby! This is a spectacular cathedral, ornate like you wouldn't believe.....and empty. The first time I was in it, I spent an hour looking at all the carvings and statuary. Amazing. I have yet to hear the choir, but my understanding is that you will be brought to tears at the sound. The reredos, organ and, get this, 3 million!!! piece stained glass window are just a sampling of the impressiveness of this place.

Thank 65Pony
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 12, 2010

Across the road from it's more imposing neighbour (st paticks), this much smaller church seems to be overlooked by most people. Upon visiting, there was only one other person in the church, which is a shame as it deserves better.
From the outside, the church looks very odd - it lacks symmetry, a whole side seems to be missing. From reading the history of this church, the design was apparently a 'novel' solution to it's corner position, after it was rebuilt following a fire.
The beauty in this church is without doubt the carvings around the alter and the choir stalls, which are stunning and continue around all the door frames outside the church.
If you are passing it is well worth stopping in for a few minutes.

2  Thank Travellover6128
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 16, 2009

I visited St. Thomas Church in the 1960s but was not educated enough to appreciate what I was experiencing. In October '09, while visiting the city to see some Broadway shows, I returned and attended Evensong 4 times (three times during the week and once on Sunday). St. Thomas Church is not a cathedral. It is, however, built in the gothic style, with stone on stone construction and a very lively accoustic, which adds to the glory of the singing experience. The choir is made up of professional adult men, who sing the bass, tenor and alto parts, and about 24 young boys who sing the treble part. This type choir has been the standard for English cathedrals for several hundred years and has only been modified recently by including young girl voices (which sound very much like boys) on occasion in an attempt to be inclusive. In addition, the Gentlemen of the Choir sometimes sing the service (as they did on my last visit, because some of the boys were experiencing flu-like symptoms). The service of Evensong is the Anglican service of evening prayer, sung rather than recited, deriving from the ancient offices of vespers and compline, the final two canonical hours in the old (Roman) Catholic tradition. The choirmaster at St. Thomas is John Scott, who came to St. Thomas after retiring from an illustrious turn as organist and choirmaster at St. Paul's Cathedral, London, where he led a similar choir of men and boys which was truly World Class. His influence at St, T. is felt in the remarkable musical offerings which are available at the church and also on their web site. Services are archived and can be heard for free by visiting the site and going to the pod casts available. The Sunday morning Eucharist services are also available for listening any time. My visit to New York was definitely enhanced by my visit to this wonderful church. The choir is one of only 3 or 4 similar choirs in the USA (The Washington National Cathedral and Grace Cathedral, San Francisco have choirs of men and boys, but not residential choir schools). If you want to experience the unique sound of such a choir and get a spiritual boost as well, go to St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, NYC.

3  Thank epiduralbob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 19, 2009

Walk into St. Thomas Church at 53rd and Fifth Avenue any Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday afternoon around 5:30 PM, and Sunday at 4 PM, and you will be pleasantly surprised to find a centuries old English choral tradition very much alive and flourishing.

The vaulted stone Cathedral is the perfect acoustic backdrop for the extraordinary music you will shortly hear; the songs are sung by a world famous choir of boys and young men, crisp and handsomely attired in cassocks, gowns and robes. When the choristers begin to sing the traditional hymns accompanied by organ and orchestra, you will know you have stumbled upon something very special. Sit back and breathe in the music.

Evensong, a short 45 minute service of glorious music, is a painless way to introduce youngsters to classical masterpieces performed by talented young boys close to their own age (ages 8-13).*

These boys attend Saint Thomas Choir School, one of only four such schools still in existence in the world. They perform year-round at Saint Thomas as well as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and for audiences around the world.

The Choir School is committed to training and educating gifted young musicians; so if your son has a passion for music and a beautiful voice, encourage him to audition and apply. Visit the School's website at http://www.choirschool.org/.

Whether you have children or not, this is a wonderful uplifting way to end a hectic work day or just find a moment's reprieve from the city's relentless pace.

If you plan to take a young child, you may want to sit in the rear of the Cathedral. Then, if he/she becomes restless, you can quietly slip away.

Address to Remember: Saint Thomas Church, One West 53rd Street, New York, NY, [---].

Directions: From Times Square walk one block to Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue), take uptown MTA B, D, F, V to 50th Street and Rockefeller Center. Walk a few short blocks to Fifth Avenue and 53rd Street.

Jacqueline Cable
Postcards from New York

2  Thank postcardsfromnewyork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 18, 2006

We visited this church on our NYC Organ Crawl yesterday. The assistant organist, Fred Teardo, who has only been at St. Thomas about three months, was exceptionally nice and showed (and demostrated) the two main organs of the church. The large "Great" organ in the chancel area at the front of the church is fine for loud and showy concert pieces but the tonal resources makes accompanying hymns a challenge. Upstairs in the gallery is a very interesting Taylor & Boody organ designed in the North German/Dutch Baroque style. The organ is unusual in that it uses Kellner temperament (certain keys sound better than others), has mechanic or tracker action, a flat pedalboard, and the wind can be supplied manually by operating the three bellows with the feet (quite a workout!). After playing the organs, Fred told us about the church's famous men and boys choir. He also informed us that he only gets an hour on Saturday to practice the organ. I guess this is the case with large churches in big cities that have tourists visiting throughout the day as well as having 6 or more services per week! Anyhow, I am glad that Fred was kind enough to allow us to come visit the church and play the organs (except for the small portable one at the front of the church).

3  Thank sac2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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