091a.jpg (36185 bytes) New York Architecture Images-Upper East Side

Islamic Cultural Center (Mosque)


Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP 
Architect for the minaret: Swanke Hayden Connell & Partners


201 E96, At Third Ave.




Late Modern (International Style III)  


The mosque is square in plan and is contained within a 27m cube and surmounted by a copper clad, pre-cast dome. The prayer space is open and free of columns due to the structure which incorporates four steel trusses. The square as design principle is carried through to the façade and interior ornamentation.






The Islamic Cultural Center was the first building erected as a mosque in New York City. It contains the two primary elements that traditionally compose an Islamic house of worship: a mosque and a minaret. Within the mosque, the mihrab, or alter niche, faces Mecca, dictating the mosque’s 29 degree angle from the Manhattan street grid. This alignment creates a traditional exterior court for worshipers to gather before services. The geometric form of the mosque, based on a recurring theme of square units, follows Islamic law, which prohibits the depiction of natural forms since they are made in the image of God. The result is a striking blend of ancient Islamic tradition and contemporary design and materials.

One of the most striking buildings in the City, this mosque is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The thin crescent Moon is the preeminent symbol of the Islamic faith and can be seen here atop the dome as well as the minaret. Ramadan—Islam’s holiest period—is the ninth month of the year, and its start is signaled by the first sighting of the young crescent Moon without the aid of a telescope. In the days preceding Ramadan, the Hayden Planetarium typically receives several hundred phone calls from worshipers asking for confirmation of the day they should expect to see the crescent Moon.

Like all mosques, this one was built to face Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. Easier said than done. If Earth were flat, all you would need to do is have the building face Mecca straight on. But Earth's curved surface presents a problem whose full solution requires the application of a branch of mathematics called spherical trigonometry.

The mosque pictured here is in the middle of New York City—at 74°45' west longitude and 40°56' north latitude. Mecca can be found at 39°49' E and 21°27' N. When you do the math, you'll find that the mosque faces the direction you would travel along Earth's surface directly above the straight line that connects New York City to Mecca through the solid Earth. Such a route is more formally called a geodesic or great circle route and represents the shortest distance between any two points on a curved surface, or even between any two points in the curved space of the universe.

With exceptions for the need to fly near tracking stations and to avoid airspace over unfriendly countries, commercial airplanes chart their journeys entirely along geodesics, which accounts for all those odd-looking flight paths over Greenland and northern Canada for trips that connect the United States and Europe.

Near the center of the Great Mosque in Mecca is the Ka’bah, the shrine that houses the black stone that is one of Islam's most sacred relics. By some accounts, the stone may not be of this Earth but a meteorite from interplanetary space.


The Islamic Cultural Center of New York (ICCNY)
	1711 3rd Ave
	New York, NY 
	Phone: (212) 722-5234
	Fax: (212) 722-5936

ICCNY is at the 96th Street and Lexington Ave Subway Stop of the 6 train on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Jumu'ah (Friday prayers) is held at 12:30 pm during Eastern Standard Time (winter) and at 1:00 pm during Day Light Savings time (summer).
Classes are held at ICCNY on Saturdays and Sundays.
ICCNY is currently building an Islamic School.
Islamic School Fund
Account Number: ?
"Resalah" is the ICCNY Bulletin.
Islamic Bookstore inside the building.
Islamic Center Maintenance Fund
Account Number: 5001-341662-031

Ramadhaan 1417 A.H. (1997 C.E.):
Iftar with dinner is served everyday at Maghrib (sunset)
Isha and Taraweeh Salaat (prayer) start at 7:00 pm