West-Park Presbyterian Church: A Landmark At Last!


Leopold Eidlitz (original chapel), 1884
Henry F. Kilburn (addition: the church), 1890
West 86th Street & Amsterdam Avenue
Click here for more images

VICTORY! West-Park Presbyterian Church is the Upper West Side's newest official Landmark!  

On May 12, 2010, in a series of votes at City Council, the Subcommittee on Landmarks, the Land Use Committee and the full 51-member Council upheld the unanimous decision of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission to preserve one of New York's most remarkable religious structures.

Click here for New York Times coverage. Click here to read more on LW's blog.

Click here to listen to the January 12, 2010, LPC vote.

West-Park still needs your support! Contact LW! to find out how you can be part of preserving West-Park and restoring it to vibrant use.


 
Read Letters of Support
Learn about West-Park's history
Read Press Coverage
 
Letters of Support
 

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation's Resource Evaluation and Statement of Eligibility

Scholarly Research and Letters of Support
Daniel J. Allen, architect
(Former) City Council Member Tony Avella
Barry Bergdoll, Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art
The Rev. Darrell Berger, First Unitarian Universalist Church
Francoise Bollack, architect
City Council Member Gale Brewer
Herbert Broderick, III, Associate Professor of Art, Lehman College
Mosette Broderick, Director, Urban Design and Architecture Studies, NYU
Mosette Broderick and Lauren Jacobi, Presentation to Community Board 7
Robert Cane, architect
Community Board 7

Page Cowley, architect
(Now Public Advocate; former) City Council Member Bill de Blasio
Andrew Scott Dolkart, James Marston Fitch Associate Professor of Historic Preservation,
Columbia
University

Charles DiSanto, architect
The Rev. Stephen Garmey
Historic Districts Council
Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation
Sarah Bradford Landau, former LPC Commissioner and Professor of Art History, NYU
Katherine R. McKee, Columbia University GSAPP

Walter B. Melvin, architect
The Metropolitan Chapter of the Victorian Society in America
The Very Reverend James Parks Morton, The Interfaith Center of New York
Municipal Art Society
New York Landmarks Conservancy
Susan Nial, Esq.
Gene A. Norman, former Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair
New York State Senator Bill Perkins
The Rev. Dr. Thomas Pike, former NYC Landmarks Commissioner
Lee Harris Pomeroy, architect
Preservation League of New York State
Fred Seidler, The Fred Seidler Group
Olga Statz, JD, LLM
Robert A.M. Stern, architect
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer
The Rev. Joseph M. Zorawick, former Rector of Christ & St. Stephen's Church

LANDMARK WEST! Letters and Statements
Testimony before the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, July 14, 2009
Submission to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, February 6, 2009
Testimony Before Community Board 7 on November 1, 2007

Letter to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, 2007
Letter to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, 2003

LPC Correspondence
Landmarks Commission Response to Request for Evaluation, 2003
Landmarks Commission Response to Request for Evaluation, 2007

Petition and Sample Flyer
Friends of West-Park Flyer
Online petition

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West-Park Presbyterian Church: Advocacy and History
  Landmark designation marks a new beginning for West-Park, a time for renewed hope and opportunity to make this building lively once more. Long live West-Park! The real work of saving this building is just getting started - please help!
 


West-Park Presbyterian Church
has been on LW's Wish List of landmark priorities since 1985. For more than 20 years, the community has called on the LPC to hear West-Park, which was originally included in the Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District when it was proposed, but left out of the 1990 district designation after vociferous opposition from church representatives. Since then, neighbors have had to stave off development proposals and demolition permits so that the landmarks door would remain open. The LPC's action to hold a public hearing on West-Park on July 14, 2009, is a direct response to email alerts and submissions made by LANDMARK WEST! to raise awareness after neighbors observed workers removing pieces of West-Park's interior (the Church explained that they were cleaning up after a burst pipe).

Remember, it was the LPC's failure to move quickly enough to calendar the Dakota Stables (West 77th Street & Amsterdam Avenue) that led to that building's destruction back in 2006. For West-Park, the LPC finally stepped up to the plate.

Landmarks Preservation Commission Official Significance Statement

The West-Park Presbyterian Church was designed to stand out in the neighborhood - its dramatic bell tower a beacon to worshipers, and its boldly massed, red sandstone façade keeping step with the fashion of the time. Indeed, West-Park may be the only example of a Richardsonian Revival-style church to survive in Manhattan. The robust stonework and heavy round arches reflect the popularity of medieval Romanesque forms, while the use of Lake Superior red stone trimmed with Longmeadow brownstone, a magnificent material on no other known religious structures, reveals a new interest in earth-toned materials in the 1880s. These elements combine to create a building of singular power, unquestionably one of the most beautiful religious structures on the Upper West Side. West-Park began as two separate congregations that merged in order to accomodate the neighborhood's growing population. The Park Church, on West End Avenue and 84th Street, purchased the prominent corner site on 86th Street in 1882. The congregation quickly outgrew a chapel built to the east of the corner and designed by Leopold Eidlitz, one of New York's most important 19th-century architects (sadly almost all of his buildings have been demolished). Henry F. Kilburn was commissioned to design a new church, incorporating Eidlitz's chapel and recladding its façade in 1889. West-Park was formed in 1911 when Park Presbyterian Church, merged with West Presbyterian Church, then on West 42nd Street. As of this writing, the church is closed and under imminent threat of demolition.

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West-Park in the News
  West Side Spirit
Gothamist
New York Post
amNY
Bloomberg News

New York Times
Curbed.com

The New York Sun
Newsletter of Sen. Bill Perkins
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