Mayor Eric Adams, Mark Ruffalo Unite to Save Iconic NYC Church from Demolition

Pixabay/Peter H

Since it was claimed that the costs of repairing the historic West Park Presbyterian Church would be too high, its congregation applied for a hardship status to sell the place of worship for several million dollars. Despite this, American actor Mark Ruffalo submitted a petition to save the historic church, which caught the attention of Mayor Eric Adams.

Plans To Sell Church to Build Condominium

In July 2022, the most recent time that the 133-year-old landmark church was mentioned, some petitioners wanted to demolish it and cited "hardship" as the reason. Among these petitioners were the church's congregation members, which numbered 12. As per West Side Rag, they produced evidence showing that the north and south walls of the church, built in the 19th century out of red sandstone, had begun to lean outward, which caused the south wall to be overstressed by 27%. This circumstance brought to light the hazardous condition of the church, and according to the estimations of the congregation, it would take a substantial amount of money, somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty million dollars, to restore it. 

The congregation argues that the historic designation should be revoked to enable the house of worship to be demolished and the property that it sits on sold to a developer who plans to build a 19-story condominium for $33 million. The church would reportedly get $8.8 million to finish building the new facility and funds for an endowment. Additionally, the remaining sales revenues would be given to the governing body of the Presbyterian Church as a gift. 

Also Read: Rolling Fork Community Unites to Preserve Historic Church as Congregation Rallies to Save Century-Old Landmark

Petition to Save Historic West-Park Presbyterian Church

A report from MSN stated that the Hollywood A-lister Mark Ruffalo, as well as fellow Upper West Side actors Amy Schumer and Matt Dillion, are lending their support to a local nonprofit organization to raise money for the preservation of a historic but deteriorating church of worship that is situated at the intersection of Amsterdam Avenue and West 86th Street. 

As mentioned, Ruffalo submitted a petition to Adams asking him to help save the church. However, according to Ruffalo's statement, he has been seeking for weeks to have a face-to-face meeting with Adams before the Land Preservation Commission's scheduled hearing on the subject this coming Tuesday, Jun 13. Moreover, at the chance meeting at the Tribeca Film Festival, the actor finally succeeded in getting the politician's attention to hear what he had to say. Ruffalo revealed the meeting on Wednesday, Jun 7, during which Adams presented fellow performer Robert De Niro with a key to the city. "He was surprised that they were talking about deregistering a landmark, and there was talk of a possible site visit," the actor added.

According to a report from Akahi News, the dispute that has raged for years over whether or not a historic church on the Upper West Side should be demolished or preserved has now drawn the attention of Mayor Eric Adams. But, after Ruffalo personally approached the mayor to assist in helping to save the historic spot, the much-anticipated City Landmark Preservation Commission hearing that has been set for Tuesday, Jun 13, to talk about whether it should remove the highly sought-after status of the West Park Presbyterian Church has caught the attention of the mayor.

In addition, the opinions and suggestions of all New Yorkers regarding how to effectively maintain and preserve New York City's history are significant to Mayor Adams. Due to the high level of complexity inherent in the hardship process, the spokesperson of the City Hall stated that they are confident that the Landmarks Preservation Commission will conduct an exhaustive investigation.

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