2. St. Paul’s Chapel (1764-66)

St. Paul’s Chapel on 209 Broadway, built 1764-66.

St. Paul’s Chapel, on Broadway between Fulton and Vesey Streets, was built in 1766 to serve the expanding congregation of the Trinity Church Wall Street parish. Not only is it the oldest church in Manhattan, it is also the oldest extant public building in the city. The Church’s steeple, which was added to the building in 1794, contains two bells, the first of which was made in England in 1797. The second bell was added in 1866 to celebrate the church’s centennial.

President George Washington made St. Paul’s his place of worship in 1789 and 1790, when New York was still the United States Capital. Most of the pews have since been cleared away and placed in storage, with the exception of the ones that were used by Washington and Governor (and later Vice President) George Clinton. Before the pews were removed, however, they played another historic role: following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the pews in St. Paul’s Chapel became a place for firefighters and rescue workers to rest and pray.