2221 Broadway/ 265 West 79 Street (First Baptist Church)

Address: 2221 Broadway

Landmark status: No

Block: 1227
Lot: 6


W. Lawrence Joachim, President, Board of Trustees
First Baptist Church
265 West 79th Street
New York City, NY 10024
(212) 724 – 5600 phone
(212) 787 – 7963 fax


Summary of site plans and status

At the corner of 79 Street and Broadway stands the First Baptist Church, which is home to the oldest Baptist congregation in the United States, founded in 1753. The Church’s entrance is positioned diagonally to the intersection, and features tall slender turrets, extraordinary stained glass windows, and a distinctive red tiled roof.

Early in the autumn of 2006, several congregants approached Council Member Gale Brewer about possible plans to demolish the Church in anticipation of a residential development. On October 22, 2006, the congregation met to discuss its options on this matter. On October 29, 2006 the New York Times published an article about the Church, “With Bowed Heads, a Flock Looks Warily Ahead,” that surveyed the Church’s possible plans. According to W. Lawrence Joachim, President of the Church’s Board of Trustees, “A couple of people have come forward with some serious ideas that we’ve been praying about for months.” Although Mr. Joachim would not give many specific details about proposals, he mentioned that the congregation was considering the pros and cons of various plans for the church.

Council Member Gale Brewer sent a letter to the Department of Buildings on October 10, 2006, requesting that no demolition permits be issued for site of the church. In addition she requested of the Landmarks Preservation Commission that the site be considered for landmark status.

On October 25, 2006, W. Lawrence Joachim, President of the Board of Trustees of the First Baptist Church, indicated in a letter that the Church is “not preparing to tear down the building. Our property is not, and never has been, for sale.” In fact, the Church has allocated hundreds of thousands of dollars to upgrade the structure.

According to a letter sent from the pastor of the Church to its members, a building committee was appointed, consisting of the Pastor, the Chairman of the Deacon Board, the President of the Trustees, the Treasurer, the Church Clerk, and two “members-at-large” from the congregation. The purpose of the committee was to “investigate potential proposals relative to the redevelopment” of the “property and facility and bring a formal recommendation to the members of the First Baptist Church.”


20 West End Avenue (Heschel High School)

Address: 20 West End Avenue at 61st/60th Streets
Block: 1152
Lot: 1
Landmark status: N/A


Roanna Shorofsky, Director
Abraham Heschel School
20 West End Ave.
New York, NY 10023
(212) 246-7717


Summary of site plans and status

The Abraham Heschel High School, a private school located at 20 West End Avenue, has proposed to modify its existing building, while also constructing a new building to house its middle and elementary schools, which are currently located off site on West 91 Street, and West 89 Street, respectively.

Specifically, the school is seeking permission from the city for a one story addition of 2,000 square feet on top of its existing building at 20 West End Avenue. It would also like to construct a new building (possibly a 23 story tower, which would include 190 residential units) on two adjacent lots that it owns; one is located at the corner of West End Avenue and 61 Street, and is currently occupied by the Potampkin auto dealership, operating on a month to month lease; the other adjoining lot is on West 61 Street and is occupied by an auto repair shop.

The purpose of the expansion is to consolidate the elementary and middle schools adjacent to the high school.

The master planning process is ongoing with architects Cooper Robertson & Partners. The proposal for the new school (elementary and middle) is an additional 171,931 square feet (242 square feet per student) and will include an additional 36 classrooms, 2 gyms, 1 auditorium, 2 libraries, administrative offices, 2 lunch rooms, 3 art studios, 2 music rooms and 3 science labs.

Website is available: http://www.heschel.org/index.html

124A West 95 Street (The Studio School)

Address: 124A West 95th Street (between Amsterdam Avenue and Columbus Avenue)
Landmark status: N/A
Block: 1226
Lots: 24, 25


Janet C. Rotter
Head of School
The Studio School
124A West 95th Street
New York, NY 10025
(212) 678-2416


Summary of site plans and status

The Studio School is a private elementary school currently located in the Congregation Ohab Zedek Synagogue, at 124A West 95 Street. The school is moving from its current location and is constructing a new facility in two adjoining brownstones that it purchased across the street from the Synagogue at 115 and 117 West 95 Street.

The School began construction at these two sites in 2005. The work has involved major excavation and demolition of the existing brownstones except for their facades, and also has included enlargement of the footprint of the former buildings.

In connection with this project, the New York City Industrial Development Agency (NYCIDA) awarded the Studio School “approximately $9,800,000 civic facility revenue bond transaction…in connection with the refinancing of two loans obtained in 2004 to acquire, construct, renovate, and equip facilities for the school located at 115 West 95th Street and 117 West 95th Street, New York, New York, and in connection with the additional renovation, construction, merger, equipping and furnishing of the two facilities (the “Facilities”). The combined facilities upon completion will have approximately 9,340 square feet.

The two brownstones will be a facility for toddlers through eighth graders. The abstract of the project provided by the Studio School states:

The new space is specifically designed to strengthen our constructive and expressive arts, science, and language programs, to successfully implement our innovative educational methods, and to integrate all aspects of the curricula into new multi-use classrooms.

129 West 67 Street (Kaufman Center)

Address: 129 West 67 Street
Block: 1139
Lot: 8
Landmark status: No


Lydia Kontos
Executive Director
Kaufman Center
129 West 67 Street
New York, NY 10023


Summary of site plans and status

UPDATE: 8/15/2006
The Board of Standards and Appeals has granted a variance (Z.R. Section 72-21) to enlarge an existing community facility building (Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center)___________________________________________________________________________________________________
UPDATE: 4/15/08
The projected opened on January 8, 2008. Council member Gale A. Brewer spoke, highlighting the $1,000,000 the Council allocated from the Fiscal Year 2008 Budget to the expansion. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer also spoke at the opening event. Borough President Scott Stringer also allocated an additional $500,000.

The Kaufman Center applied to the Board of Standard and Appeals (Application #127-06-BZ) for a minor waiver of floor area and rear yard requirements to allow the proposed enlargement of the center. The architect is Robert A. M. Stern. The following includes the project details:

• Restoration of the Kaufman Center’s façade, including the addition of beautiful new glass surfacing materials

• Redesign of the main entrance, creating a more inviting and efficient facility

• Expanded space for music classes, receptions, special events and theater workshops. These spaces include two new classrooms and a flexible educational/event space on the balcony level

• A fully ADA-accessible concert space including renovated restrooms and entryways and ADA-accessible artist’s spaces backstage

• Enhanced audio-visual capabilities in Merkin Concert Hall, including updated listening systems for hearing impaired concert-goers and students

• Redesign of Merkin Concert Hall’s lobby to make it more attractive, welcoming and functional for pre and post-performance activities

• Expansion of lobby space to better serve the two schools

• Replacement of finishes and restoration and reupholstering of the seating in Merkin Concert Hall

• Structural and mechanical improvements, including the installation of a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system

• Restoration of the Kaufman Center’s façade, including the addition of beautiful new glass surfacing materials

38 West 86 Street (Bard Graduate Center for Studies in Decorative)

Address: 38 West 86 Street
Block : 1199 Lot: 54
Landmark Status: No


Susan Soros, President Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture
36 West 86 Street
New York, NY 10024
Phone: 212-501-3000

Summary of site plans and status

Update: 5/1/2007
Community Board 7/Manhattan approved the proposed renovations by Bard College at 36 West 86th Street. Renovations will include restoration of the facade of the building in a historic manner.
As of October 2006, the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture was planning to expand. The BGC bought 38 West 86 Street, a brownstone building located next to its current location. Expansion plans are under consideration as of August 13, 2007.

38 West 86 Street

170 Central Park West (New-York Historical Society)

Address: 170 Central Park West, at 77 Street
Block: 1129
Lot: 29
Landmark status: Yes


Louise Mirrer
New York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
(T) 212-873-3400


Summary of site plans and status

The building was built between 1903 and 1908, and was enlarged in 1937 by Walker and Gillette. The New-York Historical Society (NYHS) appeared before Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) on February 21, 2006 to install flag poles and banners. The application was approved with modification.

In addition, in 2007, the NYHS applied for changes to its facade. With modifications, the LPC approved the facade changes; see below.

As of 2007, LPC has issued a Status Update Letter for the work at 170 Central Park West, but as yet, no permit has been issued because the applicant has not yet submitted the requisite drawings.

Quoting from the May 10, 2007 Status Update Letter from the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission:

This letter is to inform you that at the Public Hearing of April 24, 2007, following the Public Meeting of April 17 2007, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to approve alterations to the Central Park West and West 77th Street facades at the subject premises, including the creation of new door openings and entrance steps, the installation of a new barrier-free access ramp on West 77th Street altering window openings, and the installation of glass kiosks on the sidewalk.

PLEASE NOTE: Approval for this project expires on April 24, 2013; however, no work can begin until a Certificate of Appropriateness is issued. This approval is not effective until the applicant submits two sets of the final signed and sealed drawings to be submitted to the Department of Buildings, showing the approved proposal, at which time a Certificate of Appropriateness will be issued.

The Commission approved the proposal, finding that the replacement of the entry steps on the Central Park West facade of the steps only and will affect only a minimum amount of historic fabric on the building, and will retain the overall relationship of the building to the street; that the granite steps will match the granite base of the building, and their installation will not conceal any significant architectural features of the building; that the proposed steps at both the Central Park West and West 77th Street facades are in keeping with the monumental scale of the building; that the removal of the recently constructed steps and ramp on the West 77th Street facade will not eliminate any significant historic features; that the simple design of the ramp on West 77th Street, and glass and bronze railings will be harmonious with the austere design of the building and will read as separate modern elements; that the proposed ramp will not be attached to the facade, and therefore, will not cause damage to the base of the building and could easily be removed in the future; that the proposed alterations to the window openings on the Central Park West facade to create doors will retain the height and width of the original openings thereby preserving the original proportions of the facade and removing only a minimal amount of masonry from the facade; that the new glass doors will be deeply recessed behind the facade, and therefore, will only be partially visible and will not detract from the monumental scale and materials of the building; that the historic bronze doors will be reused in the Central Park West entrance, maintaining an existing historic feature; that the new bronze doors in the new door openings will match the design and material of the historic door, maintaining a uniform design of the facade; that enlarging the first floor window openings on the West 77th Street facade will not cause the loss of any decorative architectural features; that the size of the enlarged openings and the configuration and materials of the new windows will be consistent with the existing second floor openings, and with other windows on the primary facades; that the deteriorated condition of the glass block in the 2nd floor windows of the Central Park West facade warrants its replacement; that the proposed textured glass will be a contemporary evocation of the glass block which was also an innovative window material in 1937 when the building underwent an architecturally and historically significant expansion and renovation; that relocating the two historic torches to the interior will preserve these significant features; that the location of the proposed glass kiosks on either side of the new stairs will not overwhelm the facade, obstruct portions of the facade, or diminish its architectural character; that the proposed free-standing kiosks will not cause damage to any portion of the building and be easily removed in the future; and that the proposal will not detract from the special architectural and historic character of the Individual Landmark, the Upper West Side/Central Park Historic District, or the Central Park West/West 76th Street Historic District. Based on these findings, the Commission determined the proposed work to be appropriate to the Individual Landmark and the Upper West Side/Central Park West, and the Central Park West/West 76th Street Historic Districts, and voted to approve it.

Please note that this Status Update Letter superseded the Status Update Letter issued on April 24, 2007.

Note that the above IS NOT A PERMIT.

The following is Council Member Gale A. Brewer’s proposal for the alteration of the façade of New York Historical Society, as presented to the Landmarks Preservation Commission on March 20, 2007.

As a public official I have been involved in a number of debates about the development of historic and architecturally important sites. Regarding this project I have reviewed a large volume of correspondence, listened to testimony at forums, and studied the proposal. I testify today that there is broad acknowledgment within the community that the interior of this landmark building does not adequately serve the Society’s current and future program goals, nor its vision of a new public face. But in striving to help the Society achieve its goals, we must ensure the preservation of the historic- indeed, unique- architectural face that the Society and New York turn to the world.