Cathedral of St. John the Divine Wants to Add Copper Roof

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine at 114th and Amsterdam is apparently having problems with water damage to its granite roof, and its solution is to add a copper roof to its dome.

The proposal was set to have a hearing at the Landmarks Preservation Commission earlier this week, according to NY YIMBY. The original roof, built in 1909, was meant to be temporary, according to YIMBY. The cathedral is famously unfinished.

The cathedral received landmarks protection in 2017.


Current roof.


Proposed roof.

HISTORY, NEWS | 6 comments | permalink
    1. Sherman says:

      It’s a beautiful building and I’m glad it will get some sprucing up.

      The church is gigantic. I’ve often wondered if it has enough active participants to support such a big complex.

    2. AC says:

      This Church is a landmark in the UWS and the commission should work on helping the community preserve it.

      Cooper is a good choice and practical for this kind of roof. I worked on waterproofing back in the 1990’s. If you want your architecture to stand the test of time and make an impact, copper, brass, and bronze are all highly corrosion resistant, weather resistant, and durable. SS (Stainless Steel) would be an excellent choice too, but the cost would be make it unreasonable.

      Good Luck!

    3. Moo Vee Buff says:

      Well, let us hope they avoid using ‘Dirty Copper’, like in the old gangster (NOT “gangsta”) movies.

      4 Example:
      “That mug’s been walkin’ up-and-down outside of here for the past five minutes. Looks like a COPPER to me.” AND
      “He couldn’t be a COPPER, his feet aren’t flat enough.”
      —Jimmy Cagney in 1933 “Lady Killer”

      (thanks 2 Internet Movie Data Base)

    4. jezbel says:

      A copper roof for the dome (or any other part of the roof) would be beautiful and they last forever. Watching it slowly weather and begin to turn vert da gris over time is a wonderful thing and the colors are gorgeous. Hoping they move ahead with the project.

    5. NYRag lover says:

      I just took a ‘vertical tour’ at the cathedral this week. While a bit pricey at $18,found it by accident on their website. Very poorly attended ( only 3 of us!) it was fabulous walking to the roof with its views of the skyline. You do see the damage caused by the water when you get above the rafters inside. A new roof would be a win /win esthetically and practically.

    6. Peter Brandt says:

      I agree to a new covering of the roof, Landmarks be overruled ! They always have to justify their existance but lets make some realistic sense to save the Cathedral. The last thing the owners want is to deface the Cathedral.