West Park Church LPC Hardship Application

November 12, 2023

Sarah Carroll, Chair
Landmarks Preservation Commission
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY  10007

Via email: testimony@lpc.nyc.gov

RE: 165 West 86th Street – West Park Presbyterian Church (LPC-22-09135)

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 testimonies of June 12, 2023 and June 10, 2022 attest to our objections.

After reviewing the additional application materials provided by the LPC, we are still not convinced that every avenue for restoration, adaptive re-use, or sale to a new owner has been explored. Based on Don Friedman’s testimony, who is among the most experienced and reputable preservation engineers in the city, repair of the building would be considerably less costly than the owner’s engineers previously estimated. This should open more potential avenues for sale or reuse. Many important historic religious structures in New York and beyond have been saved with a bit creativity and a dedication to community over maximizing financial returns. 

In the meantime, we maintain that West Park Church must not be demolished until all viable options have been pursued. As you know, 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 religious structures throughout the city. We respectfully urge the Commission to deny this proposal. Thank you.


Richard D. Moses