The texts on this page will introduce you to the religious diversity of New York City, through the work of anthropologists, historians, photographers, journalists, and others. This is not a comprehensive bibliography — please let us know if we left something out! — but these texts will certainly give you a sense of the rich religious life of the city.
For up-to-the-minute, journalistic looks at New York’s religious life, you might also want to check out the articles, blog posts, and photos on the Journey Through NYC Religions website, the brief documentary videos on the Faith in the Five Boroughs website, and the “United by Faith” category of religion reporting on the Feet in 2 Worlds web magazine.
And for an overview of the city’s religious life, check out this 20-minute religious diversity training video, produced for the New York City Police Department by the Interfaith Center of New York. The video is focused, above all, on the needs and concerns of NYPD patrol officers, but it also speaks to the general public.
Zain Abdullah, Black Mecca: The African Muslims of Harlem, Oxford University Press, 2010.
Explores the racial and religious identities of New York’s fastest-growing, but often overlooked, Muslim community.
Vivek Bald, Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America, Harvard University Press, 2013.
Courtney Bender, Heaven's Kitchen: Living Religion at God's Love We Deliver, University Of Chicago Press, 2003.
Jonathan Boyarin, Mornings at the Stanton Street Shul: A Summer on the Lower East Side, Fordham University Press, 2011.
Howard Brotz, The Black Jews of Harlem: Negro Nationalism and the Dilemmas of Negro Leadership, Free Press, 1964.
Karen McCarthy Brown, Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn, University of California Press, 2001.
Jon Butler, God in Gotham: The Miracle of Religion in Modern Manhattan, Harvard University Press, 2020
A tour de force by a leading historian of American religion, God in Gotham portrays a city where people of faith engaged modernity rather than foundered in it.
Richard Cimino (ed.), Ecologies of Faith in New York City: The Evolution of Religious Institutions, Indiana University Press, 2012.
This collection of essays explores how New York City’s many religious communities and their representative institutions interact with one another.
Tony Carnes and Anna Karpathakis (eds.), New York Glory: Religions in the City, New York University Press, 2001.
Brief essays on a wide range of New York’s religious communities, and some of the social issues confronting them.
Hasia Diner, Lower East Side Memories: A Jewish Place in America, Princeton University Press, 2002.
Explores present-day memories of the Jewish community on the Lower East Side of Manhattan at the turn of the twentieth century.
Jerrilynn Dodds and Edward Grazda, New York Masjid: The Mosques of New York City, PowerHouse Books, 2002.
Beautiful photographs and insightful text, exploring the architecture of the city's Muslim houses of worship, as well as the everyday lives of Muslim New Yorkers.
Ayala Fader, Mitzvah Girls: Bringing Up the Next Generation of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn, Princeton University Press, 2009.
Samuel Freedman, Upon This Rock: The Miracles of a Black Church, Harper Perennial, 1994.
Alyshia Galvez, Guadalupe in New York: Devotion and the Struggle for Citizenship Rights among Mexican Immigrants, New York University Press, 2009.
Henry Goldschmidt, Race and Religion among the Chosen Peoples of Crown Heights, Rutgers University Press, 2006.
An analysis of Black-Jewish difference in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights -- looking past the August 1991 conflict between the Lubavitch Hasidim and their neighbors to explore everyday perceptions of racial and religious difference.
Terry Golway (ed.), Catholics in New York: Society, Culture, and Politics, 1808-1946, Fordham University Press and the Museum of the City of New York, 2008.
A wide range of essays on New York’s diverse Catholic communities, focusing on the period of large-scale Catholic immigration in the mid- to late-nineteenth century.
Mark Gornik, Word Made Global: Stories of African Christianity in New York City, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2011.
Kenneth Guest, God in Chinatown: Religion and Survival in New York's Evolving Immigrant Community, New York University Press, 2003.
R. Scott Hanson, City of Gods: Religious Freedom, Immigration, and Pluralism in Flushing, Queens, Fordham University Press, 2016.
Madhulika Khandelwal, Becoming American, Being Indian: An Immigrant Community in New York City, Cornell University Press, 2002.
Michael Lloyd, Bull of Heaven: The Mythic Life of Eddie Buczynski and the Rise of the New York Pagan, Asphodel Press, 2012.
Alyssa Maldonado-Estrada, Lifeblood of the Parish: Men and Catholic Devotion in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NYU Press, 2020
Jerome Mintz, Hasidic People: A Place in the New World, Harvard University Press, 1998.
Amminah Mohammad-Arif, Salaam America: South Asian Muslims in New York, Anthem Press, 2002.
Discussion of New York’s large and growing Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi Muslim communities.
Deborah Dash Moore (series editor), City of Promises: A History of the Jews of New York, New York University Press, 2012.
Robert Orsi, The Madonna of 115th Street: Faith and Community in Italian Harlem, Yale University Press, 1985.
Robert Orsi (ed.), Gods of the City: Religion and the American Urban Landscape, Indiana University Press, 1999.
Peter Paris, et al., The History of the Riverside Church in the City of New York, New York University Press, 2004.
Larry Racioppo, The Word on the Street: The Photographs of Larry Racioppo, Mobia, 2008.
Moses Rischin, The Promised City: New York's Jews, 1870-1914, Harvard University Press, 1977.
Bettina Schmidt, Caribbean Diaspora in the USA: Diversity of Caribbean Religions in New York City, Ashgate Publishing Company, 2008
Investigates New York City’s diverse Afro-Caribbean religious communities in order to construct a dynamic theory of diasporic religion and culture.
Joseph Sciorra, Built With Faith: Italian American Imagination and Catholic Material Culture in New York City, U. of Tennessee Press, 2015
Explores the significance of the devoational art and architecture of Italian American Catholic communities in New York City.
Moshe Shokeid, A Gay Synagogue in New York, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003.
Clarence Taylor, The Black Churches of Brooklyn, Columbia University Press, 1996.
R. Stephen Warner and Judith Wittner (eds.), Gatherings in Diaspora: Religious Communities and the New Immigration, Temple University Press, 1998
Jill Watts, God, Harlem, U.S.A.: The Father Divine Story, University of California Press, 1995.