Christians in the city and around the world celebrated the start of Lent Wednesday with Ash Wednesday observances.
Catholics marked the day by getting crosses of ashes on their foreheads as a symbol of mortality, including some who received ashes in the sign of the cross on their foreheads at an Ash Wednesday Mass celebrated by Cardinal Timothy Dolan St. Patrick's Cathedral.
The ashes are traditionally made from burning palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday.
"It's really important because it is the only way that I can be really close to Christ and God," said one worshiper in Chelsea.
"Basically, a tradition growing up. I went to a Catholic high school. Basically it's been really close in our family, it's important just to give something up, that even something like eating, drinking or just something that you do to just keep it, be a better person, basically, so that's what we try to do," said another worshipper.
The period of Lent is traditionally observed with prayer, fasting and sacrifice, with observers usually giving up something meaningful.