June 10, 2022
Sarah Carroll, Chair
NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10007
frankly Re: 541 Amsterdam Avenue – West Park Presbyterian Church (LPC-22-09135)
Dear Chair Carroll:
The Lower East Side Preservation Initiative – LESPI – is highly opposed to the referenced application’s proposal to demolish the West Park Presbyterian Church, certainly one of the great individual landmarks of the Upper West Side.
As one of the most important Romanesque Revival style religious structures in New York City, the building is a landmark in the truest sense of the word, serving as an architectural and historical beacon for the community. Along with its stunning brownstone facades, the church is also important for its cultural history, first during the 19th century when it welcomed Chinese Americans during a time of great prejudice, and later standing at the forefront of the African American and LGBT civil rights movements. The building’s current occupant, the Center at West Park (CWP) is a non-profit community performing arts center that has made a significant impact on the cultural fabric of the Upper West Side and the city.
Although the property is located well north of LESPI’s catchment area of the Lower East Side, we comment here because of the terrible precedent the demolition of this church would present for landmarked religious sites throughout the city, including in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
We respectfully urge the Commissioner to deny this proposal.
Cc: Carolyn Ratcliffe, Lower East Side Preservation Initiative