The Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Thousands can congregate in the space made by a few.

Street Address: Amsterdam Ave at 112st St
Hours: M–Sa 7a–6p; Su 7a–7p

Getting there: B, C, or 1 trains to 110th St

Once you arrive at the steps of the cathedral: proceed through the front doors and walk the length of the cathedral in the leftmost aisle, until you reach the altar. With the altar on your right, walk up five steps to the first bronze grille on your left.

Your key will unlock: the padlocked chain on the entrance grille to The Baptistry, a gift from the descendants of Peter Stuyvesant, the last governor of New Amsterdam—or New York City, as it is known today.

View Key to the City in a larger map


  1. Anna T says:

    When I went to St. John’s on Sunday afternoon at 6:05pm, they were actually closed. They have a big board posting their hours right in front of the church that said open daily from 8am-6pm. Besides I also double check with one of the security guards in their parking lot about the hours. So be warned travelers of the changed hours.

  2. iCeLiNg says:

    I recommend taking the 1 train to this site as it is a closer walk. The cathedral closes promptly at 6pm. But if you go 10 minutes before closing, they will still let you in. There are some nice cafes diagonally across the street from the cathedral, check it out.

  3. Elaine says:

    Although the cathedral is beautiful (and you should definitely go if you’ve never been), it’s a let-down that the baptistry is usually open. Even now, you’ll see that there’s another entrance to the room, and it’s not closed off.

    So know beforehand that for this site, you are going just to see the church and not to unlock anything secret or normally off-limits. All the Key to the City people looked a bit silly unlocking the grille when there’s another open entrance.

  4. Michelle says:

    We went about 4:00 on Sunday. A service was going on, and they wouldn’t let you go to the area during the service. We sat and waited for a while, it’s a beautiful Church and we were glad to see it. We never waited long enough to open the lock, but the point of this whole thing is not to open locks, but the experience this wonderful city, and take you places, you might never visit. I really appreciate this project, many thanks!

  5. psychopooch says:

    Yes, you can access the baptistry from another room. But as someone mentioned already, another aspect of the project was that it got you to a place you might never visit. I’ve been meaning to go to the Cathedral for a while and always seemed to push it off. The Key was the best excuse. It’s a beautiful space. Take the time to enjoy it. And if you happen to be an art buff, there’s a Keith Haring piece in one of the side chapels. Might not be a bad thing to bring binoculars too. Had fun looking for the non-religious imagery on the stained glass.

  6. Tracy Edwards says:

    I too was bummed to find that there was another way in to the Baptistry other than with our key. But it’s a place I never would have gone, and is truly a stunning church. I’m not a church person, but I was in awe.
    We did go through the unlocking and locking of the key for the fun of it and pictures.
    We were also able to visit one of the street pianos from the Play Me I’m Yours program, it was in the garden to the south of the church. So we got 2 great stops in.
    The Italian restaurant at 110th & Cathedral Parkway, V & T’s, is pretty good. Food ok, outside table atmosphere wonderful.

  7. Charlie says:

    Lock is a bit of a disappointment, but the church is beautiful. And don’t miss Terry Flaxton’s multimedia exhibit “In other people’s skin.” That was fun.

  8. empofekeern says:

    it has become nice this years

  9. [...] afternoon I opened my first lock in the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. The opened padlock took us to The Baptistry, a gift from [...]

  10. The Wings says:

    Cathedral of St John the Divine is a beautiful cathedral. It’s a little creepy with all the crypts in it.

  11. L.A. says:

    Gorgeous and I almost got locked inside at closing time.Go to The Heights afterwards for yummy drinks with a view!

  12. Matt Gaynord says:

    Yes, there is another way in but having my own access was cool. Some people inside got nervous when I re-locked the gate thinking they were getting lock in. While there, don’t forget to check out the right side aisle which contains the AIDS MEMORIAL and a special tribute to the FDNY