I happened to stay at the Morningside Heights district in Manhattan while I visited NYC and my place of lodging is near the St. John The Divine, which is also one of the stops along the sightseeing routes of the tourist Citybus.
Just to share some interesting facts about St. John The Divine:
*St. John the Divine is the largest church in the U.S.A. and the largest cathedral in the world. (Not to be confused with the largest church in the world, which is the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast.) Apparently, the cathedral stretches the length of two football fields.
*There's always construction going on, as the church has been a work in progress since 1892.
* In December 2001, there was a fire that destroyed part of the church, exacerbating the restoration process.
*The church has many chapels, each dedicated to a different national, ethnic, or social group. Other chapels are dedicated to contemporary issues such as sports, poetry, and AIDS.
*The Saint Savior Chapel contains a three-panel bronze altar in white-gold leaf with religious scenes by artist Keith Haring (his last sculptural piece before he succumbed to AIDS in 1990).
While you're at St. John, don't miss the gorgeous Peace Fountain and the park. This charming lil' park makes for a great picnic spot in Spring or Summer and looks especially pretty when flowers are in bloom.
And what do you pack for your picnic at the Peace Fountain Park? Not to worry. For just a couple of minutes stroll down the main thoroughfare, Amsterdam Avenue, brings you to the 24-hour Appletree mini mart. This handy convenience store is a boon with the surrounding students of Columbia University. While at Appletree, you can pick up the usual snacks, groceries and amenities. But to make your picnic complete, order a sandwich from Appletree's astounding Deli corner.
A veritable smorgasbord of sandwich offerings.
And say you're still a little peckish after the picnic, or you chucked the picnic plans 'cuz you just ain't one for sitting on grounds (Hey, it happens!), then pop over to Artopolis (unmissable with its cheery, bright yellow awning) which is just across the road from St. John and while the afternoon away with tea offerings of crepe, pastries, cookies and other sweet whatnots (baklava anyone?).