By Carol Tannenhauser
They all came to the southeast corner of W 86th St and Amsterdam Avenue on Thursday morning — the community members, the lawyers, the nonprofit board members, the block association presidents, the preservationists, the artists, the U.S. congressman, and the City Council member who organized the presser and rally in support of saving the endangered West Park Presbyterian Church, a landmark, pictured behind them.
Council Member Gale Brewer (far right) was the prime force behind getting the church landmarked in 2010, and is now leading the charge to save its landmark designation lest it be sold to a developer and demolished in favor of a 19-story condominium.
Roger Leaf was also there this morning, standing apart. He is a member and representative of the remaining 12-person congregation of West Park Presbyterian, which, he says, will perish under the financial pressure of the decaying building. He is fighting to see it demolished.
Leaf says it would take “$50 million to restore the church, $17 million for the facade alone.”
“Under $10 million,” the church’s defenders said, on Thursday.
“Make believe!” Roger Leaf told the Rag.
Council member Gale Brewer said, “We’re going to buy the church.”
Tonight at 6:30pm, via Zoom, the Preservation Committee of Community Board 7 will begin deciding the church’s fate. The public is welcome to attend and comment. Here is the link to register.
The committee will — probably after several hours of impassioned testimony from both sides — pass a resolution either for or against the de-designation as a landmark of the church. The resolution will be voted on by the full board on June 7th. The CB7 resolution is then presented to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and strongly considered as a gauge of community opinion in its decision.
Read our background story here, and consider joining the Zoom, as the future of one of the crossroads of the Upper West Side is determined.