On 5th Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets across from Rockefeller Center  is St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the largest Roman Catholic cathedral in the United States. Designed by James Renwick, this elaborate Gothic creation with its soaring towers and lovely rose window took 21 years to build, replacing the old St. Pat’s in Little Italy  in 1879.
Its grandeur attests to the success of New York’s Irish Catholics who, at that time, were largely shunned by the city’s predominantly Protestant upper classes. Back then, some snooty upper crusts even went out of their way not to cross in front of the cathedral.
Kitty-corner to St. Pat’s, at the corner of 53rd Street, is another famous New York church, the Protestant Episcopal St. Thomas Church, completed in 1914. A French Gothic gem known for its lovely stonework and stained glass, the church has long been a favorite site for society weddings.
Central Park South (59th Street) on the Plaza’s north side is a gathering place for the horse-drawn hansoms and pedicabs. Carriage rides (212/664-1149, $34 for 20 min.) can be reserved or booked on site, through the Manhattan Carriage Company.
NB Pedicabs offer 90-minute tours for $65, and can be hailed on the street, or found at 59th and Central Park West, at 59th St. and 5th Ave., 59th St. and 6th Ave., and at 66th St. and Central Park West.