The historic church on the corner of 96th street and Central Park West has been purchased by a developer who wants to tear out the interior and install apartments. That plan will have to pass muster with the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
In the meantime, the owners are removing asbestos, according to several people who live nearby, including one who lives next door and says she was told to close her windows. Councilman Mark Levine told us his office has been contacted by several people worried about the removal, and has been attempting to reach out to the contractor. We also attempted to contact a contractor for the property, but an email listed with the Department of Buildings was invalid. The Crenshaw Christian Center, formerly the First Church of Christ, Scientist, was built between 1899 and 1903. It’s made of Concord granite.
On Thursday, workers with a large inflatable rat stood outside the church protesting the asbestos removal. They told one our readers they are fighting New York Insulation, which has taken heat for other asbestos jobs in the past. They have circulated a video with their complaints.
Levine says he is skeptical that the church can be converted into condos without affecting the historical structure. For one thing, he noted, there are very few windows. “I’m deeply concerned that we don’t do anything that could mar this historic building.”