June 12, 2023
Sarah Carroll, Chair
Landmarks Preservation Commission
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10007
RE: 165-167 West 86th Street – West Park Presbyterian Church
Dear Chair Carroll:
The Lower East Side Preservation Initiative – LESPI – remains highly opposed to the referenced application to demolish the West Park Presbyterian Church, certainly one of New York’s great individual landmarks. Our previous testimony of June 10, 2022, attests to our objections.
After reviewing the additional application materials provided by LPC, we are still not at all certain that every avenue for restoration, adaptive re-use, or sale to a new owner has been explored, particularly at the Presbytery level. Still further, we understand that the plight of the church has attracted the attention of a significant number of individuals outside the preservation community who may be able to provide fresh ideas and other assistance that would result in safeguarding the building. Countless communities around the country manage to save their endangered historic churches through creative financing and adaptive reuse, and we believe it is quite possible that West Park Church could be saved from demolition as well.
In the meantime, under no circumstances should this revered landmark be demolished until all viable options have been vetted. The loss of this building would not only be a great loss to New York’s cultural and architectural heritage but would set a terrible precedent that could endanger landmarked churches throughout the city.
We respectfully urge the Commission to deny this proposal. Thank you.
Richard D. Moses