Sacred Sites Program

West-Park Presbyterian Church - Manhattan

West-Park Presbyterian Church - Manhattan
West-Park Presbyterian Church - Manhattan
Neighbors presented this preliminary design that incorporates the historic structure while expanding program space.

An outstanding example of late 19th century religious architecture in New York City, West-Park Presbyterian Church is situated prominently at the corner of West 86th and Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan. Eligible for listing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, it is located just outside the Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District.

The church first contacted the Conservancy’s Sacred Sites staff in 2000 about masonry facade repairs. Its endowment was dwindling rapidly, and even with a Conservancy pledge of a $10,000 grant, the church didn’t have sufficient funds for the project.

In 2003, the Conservancy learned the congregation was exploring demolition and redevelopment to raise funds. Working with a coalition of congregational leadership, the Presbytery, West Side City Council member Gale Brewer, Landmark West!, and community members, the Conservancy sought a solution that would retain the historic church and meet the congregation’s funding needs.

Neighbors and community leaders formed Friends of West-Park as a 501©3 not-for-profit corporation and developed a $6 million plus fundraising plan. They have secured initial pledges of over $3 million, retained an experienced preservation architect to design an enlarged building complex that will provide income and space for programming, and found potential community partners to use some of the new space. West-Park Church is now considering the community’s offer. The Conservancy remains involved as the congregation and community seek common ground.