NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — For most living or working in upper Manhattan, you may have heard history, but now, you could actually see it once again.
Riverside Church is reopening its famous bell tower to the public.
The sound of the bells has echoed across Manhattan’s Morningside Heights for nearly a century. The ringing bells are a staple.
Now, for the first time in two decades, the congregation is allowing the public to see them up close once again. They closed off all tours after 9/11.
“It really is a treat, and we’re excited to be able to allow folks up here again,” said Brian Simpson, the church’s director of communications.
The 392-foot tower, said to be the tallest steeple in North America, has breathtaking 360-degree views of the city — and all the way to New Jersey.
“This tour experience is really unique. The views are amazing. There’s no views like this,” Simpson said.
But it’s what’s inside the steeple that also takes your breath away — 74 bells that chime every 15 minutes. The smallest is just 10 pounds, but the biggest sets a world record.
“The 20-ton Bourdon bell is the largest tuned bell in the world. It’s huge. It’s just awe-inspiring when you’re standing next to it, seeing how big it is,” Simpson said.
The sounds of these historic symbols have never stopped blaring, but now for everyone, you can see it to believe it once again.
Bell tower tours are given Wednesday through Saturday at 1 p.m., and visitors need to make a reservation.
For more information, visit trcnyc.org/tours.