January 22: Part One of Six


We’re pleased to present this six-part virtual tour of the exquisite art and architecture of Park Avenue Christian Church. From the Tiffany stained glass windows, to the 70-foot fleche inspired by Sainte Chappelle in Paris, the “A Walk in The Park” series highlights the precious structure that is The Park, and underscores our mission to preserve and protect this invaluable building while sharing it with our neighbors and the world.


Part One: One of the Most Beautiful Churches in

New York City

Regarded by many architectural historians as one of the most beautiful churches in New York City, the Gothic-revival structure that is home to the Park Avenue Christian Church was erected in 1909-11 by the Old South Dutch Reformed Church, a congregation that dated back to 1628, soon after the settlement of Manhattan.  The Old South Church, under financial stress, sold the building in 1914 to the First Union Presbyterian Church (later the Park Avenue  Presbyterian Church), which later merged with the Brick Presbyterian Church. Central Church of Disciples of Christ, a historic congregation dating from 1810 which was located on West 81st Street, purchased the Park Avenue building in 1945.

Inspired Design

Paris’ La Sainte-Chapelle (left) was the inspiration for New York’s Park Avenue Christian Church, shown (right) in 1911.

The principal designer of the building was Bertram Goodhue of the architectural firm of Cram, Goodhue, and Ferguson, designers of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and St. Thomas Episcopal Church.  Inspired by La Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, the building features extensive windows in the clerestory and a soaring fleche (spire) that rises 70 feet above the exterior ridge. The materials and workmen for the fleche were brought over from England to ensure that it would resist the weather here.

The church was built in authentic Gothic style – the walls are of buttressed stone without steel support.  The church is one of a handful of public buildings – most notably St. Paul’s Chapel (lower Manhattan, 1766) and the Church of the Intercession (Washington Heights, 1912) – built with local Manhattan schist. The stone came from the excavation of Central Park and, during the restoration of 1992-94, from construction at the Bronx Zoo. Some of the finest artisans of the day contributed their talents; the building boasts stained glass windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany and decorative ironwork by Samuel Yellin.


In future installments of this six-part series, we take you inside the sanctuary, and show you in detail many of the striking architectural features of The Park. 

Part Two: The East Portal, and the Ironwork

Copyright © 2014 Park Avenue Christian Church, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Park Avenue Christian Church1010 Park Avenue at 85th Street, New York, NY 10028

Church office:  212-288-3246.  Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.

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