Spirit of the City
Recent closures of religious organizations and the continued reduction of congregation sizes, leaves the fate of their often historic structures dangerously up in the air. Most notably, the on-going, infamous hardship case by West-Park Presbyterian Church. Religious buildings are as much a part of the fabric of New York City as our tenements or brownstones are, because they represent significant periods of the city’s history, architecture and culture. Repeated closures of places of worship contributes to a loss in the cultural landscape of the city. Several surveys of religious buildings in New York have been published, however a comprehensive overview of Upper West Side places of worship has yet to be undertaken. This project seeks to identify, catalog, and better understand the collection of religious properties on the Upper West Side to not only provide an affectionate description of these cultural landmarks, but also to raise awareness of our sacred space assets, and hopefully safeguard them from over-development.
As Divine New York eloquently states, “each sacred space is a microcosm of the struggle of immigrants, the power of wealth, the need for community, and the human desire to seek spiritual guidance.”¹ Come take a look with us!
With the help of a grant from the Margot Gayle Fund courtesy of the Victorian Society of New York, we can effectively develop and write social histories that celebrate Victorian-era religious structures and architects.
We are actively adding to this page as research develops! Don’t see the House of Worship you are looking for? Please write to email@example.com if you would like to sponsor the research for additional sites.
¹ Horowitz, M. L., & Hartman, E. A. (2022). Divine new york: Inside the historic churches and synagogues of Manhattan. Abbeville Press Publishers.
How to use this page
Click the relevant photo or “read history” button for that site history. Among these houses of worship, buildings 1837-1917 are considered from the Victorian Era. Sites with a light gray background reflect sites that have been demolished.
St. Paul the Apostle120 West 60th Street
West Park Presbyterian165 West 86th Street
Holy Name of Jesus207 West 96th Street
Annunciation Greek Orthodox633 West End Avenue
Greek Orthodox Faith
The Good Shepherd152 West 66th Street
Mt. Pleasant Baptist140 West 81st Street
St. Paul & St. Andrew263 West 86th Street
Fourth Universalist Society160 Central Park West
Islamic Cultural Center1 Riverside Drive
Advent Lutheran Church2504 Broadway
Evangelical Lutheran Faith
Union Baptist Church202-204 West 63rd Street
St. Cyprian's169-171 West 63rd Street
Protestant Episcopal Faith
Blessed Sacrament152 West 71st Street
Young Israel of the West Side210 West 91st Street
Congregation Shaare Zedek212 West 93rd Street