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

Address: 2221 Broadway

Landmark status: No

Block: 1227
Lot: 6

Contact

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
office@firstbaptist-nyc.org

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

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.”

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