7. The Cathedral of St. John the Divine was never finished
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Amsterdam Avenue is the world’s sixth-largest church by area. That said, it’s also unfinished: only two-thirds of the original plan was completed. The cathedral was originally designed in the Byzantine Revival and Romanesque Revival styles, but over a decade later, the plans shifted toward Gothic Revival in 1909. It was not until 1941 that the nave was completed, mainly due to lack of funding, and little progress has been made since. Knowing about the area’s robust bedrock, work on the cathedral began in 1893, yet builders unexpectedly hit soft shale pockets that would hinder the building’s construction, so they drilled deep shafts until they reached bedrock and filled them with concrete.
When the 601-foot-long cathedral opened in 1941, it was the world’s second-largest behind St. Peter’s Basilica. Work stopped on the cathedral right after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and following World War II, there was no more construction on the cathedral for three decades. Construction on the two western towers began in 1978, which extended their height by 150 feet. Worked was then halted again in 1992 after funding was depleted, and a 2001 fire further pushed back any plans for finishing the remaining third of the plan. Despite all this, the cathedral still boasts the country’s largest rose window and many modern stained glass images. And also be sure to check out the peacocks at the cathedral.