Thursday, May 21, 2009

Original Post: February 13, 2009

Rumors Swirl About West-Park’s Future:
Help Urge the Landmarks Commission to Save this Building

West-Park Presbyterian Church,
“one of the architecturally most distinguished and historically most important of Manhattan’s surviving Nineteenth century churches.”
Barry Bergdoll, architectural historian, March 2004

Earlier this week, as workers removed debris from the interior of West-Park Presbyterian Church (W. 86th Street & Amsterdam Avenue), many of you responded to the call for letters/emails/phone calls to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, urging swift action to protect one of New York’s most beautiful and significant religious structures.

Keep those letters/emails/phone calls coming (see contact info. and sample letters below)!

Evidently startled by the impassioned community response, church leaders were quick to explain that the apparent demo work was clean-up after a burst pipe. Yet, the pall of demolition—whether by intent or neglect matters little—continues to hang over this beloved neighborhood landmark.

Until West-Park is an official Landmark (with a capital L)—or at least gets the public hearing it deserves—rumors about its future will continue to fly. Church leaders have made it clear that they intend to redevelop the site and demolish at least part of the historic building. Landmark designation doesn’t necessarily preclude that possibility. What a landmarks hearing does is offer a baseline promise that the magnificent exterior will be preserved for future generations.

Beyond any reasonable doubt, and as attested by the statements of New York’s most prominent architectural historians, West-Park is worthy of designation as a New York City Individual Landmark (click HERE to read copies of some recent statements—requests for West-Park to be heard date back more than two decades!). The site was determined eligible for the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 2001.
Contact the LPC today and urge them to act immediately to calendar West-Park Presbyterian for a public hearing.

Hon. Robert B. Tierney, Chair
New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor
New York, New York 10007
Phone: 212-669-7888
Fax: 212-669-7955

Also contact the City Council member who represents the West-Park neighborhood:

Hon. Gale A. Brewer
NYC Council Member
563 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10024
Phone: 212-873-0282
Fax: 212-873-0279

can make the difference. Please help save this landmark!

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