Join the Historic Districts Council in expressing your support for the preservation of West Park Presbyterian Church and opposition to the hardship application to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission for its de-designation and demolition. 

We at HDC urge the LPC to vote against the hardship application and uphold the designation status of this significant complex. West Park Presbyterian Church, at 165 West 86th Street, was designated as an individual landmark on January 12, 2010. The church was designed by architect Henry Kilburn in 1899, including the redesign of an earlier chapel from 1885 on the site by prominent architect Leopold Eidlitz. It is widely considered one of the finest examples of the Romanesque Revival style in New York City.   

This building remains viable as a church for a Presbyterian group who meets there weekly.  It could also be repurposed for other uses as proven by the residency of the Center at West Park without allowing for demolition. All other reuse options should be explored before demolition is considered.  From the documentation provided, it does not appear that the applicant has fully done so.  Most alarming is the applicant’s lack of effort to seek a buyer who would retain the building for the same or a different purpose, and continue this congregation’s legacy, begun in 1853. 

While it is clear that significant funding is needed to maintain and restore the building, demolition for a new building is not the answer. If the hardship is granted for this complex, it will set a dangerous precedent for religious sites and other nonprofit landmarks across the city, especially those who have not maintained their buildings adequately. 

Click here to send a letter to the LPC in opposition to the application. 

For more background information on West Park and the designation, click here: