The Norwegian Seamen’s Church organization intended for facilities like this to be enjoyed by Norwegian sailors of the late 19th century, but if you’re just looking for a quiet place to eat waffles in Manhattan, you may find it useful, too.
The church is now one among dozens of Lutheran community centers around the world partly funded by the Norwegian government as a meeting point for Scandinavians abroad. It served as an important shelter for Norwegian expats during the Great Depression just as it did for more modern expats during Hurricane Sandy.
Enjoy a Lutheran mass (in Norwegian), then head to the back of the building to enjoy tea, coffee, and heart-shaped waffles in the cafe. Come Saturday, the church offers Norwegian rice pudding, as done traditionally in the motherland. Other tones of home come in a small grocery store selling Norwegian chocolates, flatbreads, jams, and syrups.
Work off the waffles by wandering around the church’s Trygve Lie Gallery, a high-ceilinged exhibition room decorated with model Scandinavian ships, showcasing a rotating series of works by Norwegian painters. A glass display case is home to dozens of coffee mugs used by seafaring Norwegians of old.
With a presence in New York City that dates back to its original Brooklyn location in the mid-1800s, the church isn’t going anywhere soon. That being said, you might not want to wait for the next flood to repent for your sins and eat your heart-shaped waffles out.