The New York Landmarks Conservancy’s ninth annual “Sacred Sites Open House” (May 18 & 19, 2019) offers New Yorkers the opportunity to explore many of the state’s world-class houses of worship. This year’s theme, Medieval to Modern: Celebrating New York’s Religious Art and Architecture, highlights the broad spectrum of historical periods, faith traditions, and styles of religious architecture found in communities throughout New York State.
Hundreds of New York’s religious institutions will open their doors to the public, giving visitors a glimpse inside impressive sanctuaries to view artistic and historical treasures. Last year, 10,000 people participated in the Sacred Sites Open House with over 150 congregations showcasing their buildings and histories via lectures, musical performances, and special guided tours, and highlighting community programs that serve 200,000 annually.
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“New York has a rich and diverse array of religious architecture,” said Peg Breen, President of The New York Landmarks Conservancy. “You’ll be amazed at the beauty, history and community programs you’ll discover visiting these institutions in your neighborhood, or venturing to another borough.”
Special, pre-booked guided tours at featured congregations in Manhattan:
- United Palace of Spiritual Arts, 4140 Broadway, Manhattan: United Palace is a stunning 3,400-seat theater with mezzanine, grand foyer and balcony, in an eclectic Art Deco style with Indian and Persian motifs. The history of United Palace, Manhattan’s 4th largest theatre and now a landmark, began in 1930, the last of six lavish Loew’s “Wonder Theatre” movie palaces opened in 1929-1930. Designed by noted architect Thomas Lamb, it was one of the region’s premier vaudeville and movie houses. Converted to church use in 1966, today, the United Palace is a transformational venue that fuses culture, spirituality and entertainment. On May 18th, visitors enjoy two one-hour tours at 12:30 p.m. & 2:00 p.m.
- Rutgers Presbyterian Church, 236 West 73rd Street, is hosting a Sacred Sites Open House Scavenger Hunt, on May 18th, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. featuring multiple houses of worship- many offering special tours and concerts- from West End Avenue to Central Park West!
- Church of the Blessed Sacrament, 152 West 71st Street, May 19th at 2:00 p.m. Guided tour of the church currently completing the restoration of exterior cast stone tracery, followed by tour of newly restored rose window by Patrick Clark of Sunlites Studio.
- FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, Meeting point: S/E Corner of First Avenue and East 87th Street, May 19th at 11:00 a.m. In conjunction with the New York Landmarks Conservancy 9th Annual Sacred Sites Open House, architectural historian Gregory Dietrich will lead a tour up First Avenue, and through some of the area’s most eclectic ecclesiastical architecture. The tour will visit an array of houses of worship that once catered to immigrant groups that settled in the area including Germans, Irish, Czechs, and Hungarians. On this ecclesiastical amble, visitors on the tour will see styles as diverse as the communities that called the Upper East Side home. FRIENDS’ recent publication, Shaped by Immigrants: A History of Yorkville, will be available for sale.
- Saint Peter’s Church, 619 Lexington Avenue, Saturday, May 18th, Two tours, 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Tour newly restored Chapel of the Good Shepherd, a unique, comprehensive sculptural environment by renowned sculptor Louise Nevelson; tour light-filled Saint Peter’s Church, in the heart of modern landmark 601 Lexington Avenue, the former Citicorp Center.
Manhattan congregations participating in Sacred Sites Open House to date include:
- St. John’s Lutheran Church, 83 Christopher Street, Saturday, May 18th, 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 19th, 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Church of St. Mary the Virgin, 145 West 46th Street, Sunday, May 19th, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- Second Presbyterian Church, 6 W. 96th Street, Saturday, May 18th, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The Church will be part of the scavenger hunt organized by Rutgers Presbyterian Church.
- St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church, 290 Henry Street, Saturday & Sunday, May 18th and May 19th, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Visitors will enjoy a choir performance, concert and guided tours (wear comfortable shoes for climbing stairs).
- Saint Ignatius of Antioch Episcopal Church, 552 West End Avenue, Saturday, May 18th, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 19th, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. The Church will have a special event Saturday at 2:00 p.m., free: an open rehearsal for Sunday’s ticketed organ concert, “Virtuosic Handel.” For more information about concerts, including ticket info, see: http://www.saintignatiusnyc.org/Music_Concerts.html#may
- First Church of Christ, Scientist, Central Park West at 68th St., Saturday, May 18th, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 19th, 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, 7 West 55th Street, Saturday, May 18th, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- St. James’ Episcopal Church, 865 Madison Avenue, Saturday, May 18th, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 19th, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- The Church of the Intercession, 550 West 155th Street, Saturday, May 18th, 10:00a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 19th, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. On both days, the Church will provide visitors with self-guided tour guides. On Sunday, worship is from 8am to 2pm. Organ demonstrations will take place during the weekend likely from 2 pm- 3 pm on both Saturday and Sunday.
- Church of the Resurrection, 119 East 74th St., Saturday, May 18th, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 19th, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Built in 1868 by Architect James Renwick Jr., the Gothic Revival Church will offer guided tours, organ demonstration, refreshments/food tastings, and self-guided tours.
- St. Bartholomew’s Church, 325 Park Ave, Sunday, May 19th, 12:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Church of Covenant, 310 East 42nd Street, Saturday & Sunday, May 18th & 19th, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Visitors to the Church will enjoy a book sale, choir performance/concert, family/children’s activities, guided tours, lecture, refreshments/food tastings, and self-guided tours.
- St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 308 West 46th Street, Saturday, May 18th, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- St. Frances X. Cabrini Shrine, 701 Fort Washington Ave, Saturday & Sunday, May 18th & 19th, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Stanton Street Shul, 180 Stanton St., Sunday, May 19th, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 225 West 99th Street, Saturday, May 18th, 12 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Guided tours of the church will take place from 1 pm to 3 pm.
- Temple Emanu-El, 1 East 65th Street, Sunday, May 19th, 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, 204 West 134th Street, Saturday, May 18th, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 19th, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Visitors will enjoy a choir performance/concert, guided tours, and organ demonstration.
- Old Broadway Synagogue, 15 Old Broadway, Sunday, May 19th, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Hershel Rubinstein will talk about the synagogue’s history throughout the day.
- Kehila Kedosha Janina, 280 Broome Street, Sunday, May 19th, 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. In addition to guided tours, visitors can participate in the Greek Jewish Festival taking place from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
- House of the Redeemer, 7 East 95th Street, Saturday, May 18th, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- Hebrew Tabernacle Congregation, 551 Fort Washington Avenue, Sunday, May 19th, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Church of St. Edward the Martyr, 14 East 109th Street, Saturday, May 18th, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 19th, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The Church will have a display of vestments. In addition, there will be occasional organ music throughout the day. The guided tour will take place at noon on Saturday.
- Church of the Holy Trinity, 316 East 88th Street, Saturday, May 18th, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 19th, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Designed by architectural firm Barney & Chapman in 1895, this Gothic Revival Church will offer choir performance/concert, guided tours, and self-guided tours.
- Church of the Ascension in the City of New York, Fifth Avenue at 10th Street, Saturday, May 18th, 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 19th, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue, Saturday, May 18th, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 19th, 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 302 West 91st Street, Saturday, May 18th, 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Eldridge Street Synagogue/Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge St., Sunday, May 19th 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Grace Church in New York, 802 Broadway, Saturday, May 18th, 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 19th, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
To register for pre-booked tours and to view a digital guide of all sacred sites participating in the Landmarks Conservancy’s Open House, visit www.nylandmarks.org or www.sacredsitesopenhouse.org.
Sponsors of Sacred Sites Open House include:
Adirondack Architectural Heritage, AIA NY Historic Buildings Committee, American Guild of Organists, Art Deco Society of New York, Cooperstown Summer Music Festival, East Village Community Coalition, Evergreene Architectural Arts, Explore Buffalo, Faith & Form, Friends of the Upper East Side, Greenwich Village Society, Historic Albany Foundation, Historic Districts Council, Historic Ithaca, Landmark Society of Western New York, Landmark West!, Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy, Lower East Side Preservation Initiative, Otsego 2000, Preservation Association of Central New York, Preservation Association of the Southern Tier, Preservation Buffalo Niagara, Preservation Long Island, Queens Historical Society, and West End Preservation Society
The Conservancy’s Sacred Sites program is the only statewide initiative in the country providing grants and hands-on technical assistance for the repair and restoration of historic religious buildings. Since 1986, Sacred Sites has provided 1,471 grants, totaling $13.2 million to 795 institutions. These grants have leveraged $760 million in restoration and repair projects throughout the State.
The New York Landmarks Conservancy
The New York Landmarks Conservancy has led the effort to preserve and protect New York City’s architectural legacy for 45 years. Since its founding, the Conservancy has loaned and granted more than $52 million, which has leveraged more than $1 billion in 1,550 restoration projects throughout New York, revitalizing communities, providing economic stimulus and supporting local jobs. The Conservancy has also offered countless hours of pro bono technical advice to building owners, both nonprofit organizations and individuals. The Conservancy’s work has saved more than a thousand buildings across the City and State, protecting New York’s distinctive architectural heritage for residents and visitors alike today, and for future generations. For more information, please visit www.nylandmarks.org