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Thread: Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine - by Heins & Lafarge / Ralph Adams Cram

  1. #151

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    ^They do have the aura of a kodachrome or colorized b/w photograph

  2. #152
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    sarcasm detectors are broken in here

  3. #153

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    Construction of the new building next to the church.

    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2015/0...the_divine.php

    The true path to the Jesus is not through the church, however, but through reading the holy Bible.

  4. #154
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    ARCHITECTURE: DRAMATIC VIEWS AT ST. JOHN

    by Ulysses March 18th, 2015



    The two new residential towers are rising up quickly by St. John the Divine and the once picturesque view by the world's largest cathedral on Amsterdam and 113th is dramatically changing each week. We walked by yesterday and took additional photos of the progress at hand. More photos after the jump:







    When architects and city planners built up the modern Harlem over a century ago, the top of Morningside Park was important for it could be seen from all of the side streets below in Central Harlem. What was built back then was considered aesthetically the best that the city had to offer and complemented uptown's Acropolis of architecture crowning the promontory of the public green space. We are not sure if the same can be said about the current situation at the top the park but the new development does look like something out of the golden age of 1970s architecture: LINK

    http://harlembespoke.blogspot.com.au...-st-johns.html

  5. #155

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    Maybe the most despicable addition to the Morningside Park view since East Campus.

  6. #156
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Why would we want to look inside when the outside is so offensive?


    Take a Peek Inside St. John the Divine's Contested Rentals

    May 19, 2015, by Zoe Rosenberg


    BuzzBuzzHome.

    First renderings for inside the two conjoined, 428-rental towers rising alongside the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Harlem show about as much of the development as is left to see of the 123-year-old church itself (which is to say, not a lot). It appears the Brodsy Organization-developed undulating towers will go by the name The Enclave at Cathedral, and will be connected by a gallery below the church's new transept stairs, according to renderings spotted by BuzzBuzzHome. The towers will be complete in 2016.




    Oh look, there's a church here too!



    The Enclave Residences at Cathedral [BBH]

    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2015/0...ed_rentals.php

  7. #157

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    They seemed to work hard to make it extra horrid.

  8. #158
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    Cathedral-Blocking Rental Towers Reach Full Height

    July 14, 2015, by Jeremiah Budin



    Field Condition headed over to the site of the two Brodsky Organization-developed rentals towers at 1047 Amsterdam Avenue, dubbed Enclave at the Cathedral, where the conjoined buildings have topped out at 15 stories apiece. The towers controversially sit right in front of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, rendering it all but invisible from the north much to the chagrin of local preservationists and archicritics like Michael Kimmelman and Justin Davidson. When completed, the buildings will have a combined 428 rental units, as well as a gallery that connects them. They are expected to be finished in 2016.







    Cathedral Towers [Field Condition]

    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2015/0...ull_height.php

  9. #159
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    Why NYC's Most Magnificent Cathedral Is Not Landmarked

    August 24, 2015, by Emily Nonko


    Photo by Kripaks/Wikimedia Commons.

    The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Morningside Heights, ranks as one of the most impressive cathedrals not just in New York City, but in the world. The elaborate facade towers over Amsterdam Avenue and the building extends a full avenue block down to Morningside Drive. The interior is distinguished by Gothic and Romanesque details, with a massive central dome made of Guastavino tile and 45-foot-tall stained glass windows. It also holds the Guinness Book of World Records' title of 'Largest Cathedral in the World.' The St. John the Divine website sums up its importance: "The Cathedral is more than 120 years old, and remains unfinished. Despite incomplete construction, it is the largest cathedral in the world, making it a global landmark."

    Problem is, this building is not a designated New York City landmark. That means that New York's most significant cathedral—deemed by the Landmarks Preservation Commission as "one of the great religious structures of the world"—isn't protected by the city at all. It's not for lack of trying, as the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the cathedral in 2002, but the decision was overturned by the City Council in a greater attempt to landmark the entire, nearly 12-acre site. An inability to do that, however, left the cathedral unprotected and the grounds open for development, hence the two rental towers under construction right next door.


    Photo via the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

    Cathedral of St. John the Divine began with a design contest in 1888, which was won by the architectural firm Heins & LaFarge. Construction was complicated due to a difficult site and ambitious plans, which required a vast foundation and crypt. The dedication of the first small section of the cathedral didn't happen until 1911, and then further construction was interrupted by both World Wars. To this day the cathedral remains unfinished, with construction and restoration a continuing process.



    The cathedral occupies a much larger site, known today as the Cathedral Close, bounded by West 110th Street (aka Cathedral Parkway) to the south, Amsterdam Avenue to the west, West 113th Street to the north, and Morningside Drive to the east. Original plans envisioned the entire close as a complex modeled on the Medieval walled cities of Europe, with surrounding ancillary buildings and lots of open park space. Over the years, maintaining the park space didn't happen. As the website New York Architecture pointed out, "The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is a great and beautiful landmark inside, but its exterior leaves much to be desired, particularly its surroundings, which were supposed to be green open space... Currently, there are parking lots, construction equipment, and a huge stoneyard."


    Arial view of the close, via Wikipedia.

    That the cathedral remains unfinished plays largely into its non-landmark status. The first unsuccessful attempt in landmarking came in the mid 1960s, according to the cathedral's dean, Rev. James A. Kowalski. The trustees of the cathedral fought against landmarking because they didn't want any future development of the structure to be regulated, he said. "How do you landmark something that's not finished?" he asked. "The trustees didn't want those regulations put upon them." Another big problem with a building never being finished? The diocese is perpetually in need of funds for construction and maintenance, which has always made development look like good, cash-friendly opportunity for the cathedral.

    The site remained unprotected until 2002, when it came back up for landmark designation. According to Kowalski, the trustees were more open to landmarking the exterior, but asked the LPC to keep two parcels outside of the landmark designation for future development as a way to bring in revenue. Here's what Dean Kowalski explained in his testimony to the Landmarks Preservation Commission: "It has been [made] painfully clear to me that religious institutions that do not attend to their financial health cannot sustain their own internal responsibilities… Our conversations with developers regarding the under-utilized perimeter parcels are directly connected to our mission as a Cathedral… We do not seek these resources simply to help the Cathedral for its own sake. Rather, we ask support [for] this strategy because the Cathedral has served and will in perpetuity serve a mission that radically embraces all people."

    Many members of the public who testified at the hearing argued that the exterior designation did not go far enough; they wanted the entire close landmarked. They argued that the ancillary buildings within the close read as a cohesive ensemble, originally designed to harmonize with one another. (One building on site, the former Leake & Watts Orphan Asylum, is one of the oldest Greek Revival-style institutional buildings in Manhattan and pre-dates the cathedral.) Preservationist also knew that the open space available, along with an existing zoning that allowed for taller buildings, meant development was possible.

    "We in the community maintain that the Cathedral is not—and has never been—under threat of demolition, while the larger Close in which it is situated continues to be threatened by the inappropriate developments that we see happening today," said Gregory Dietrich, founder of Gregory Dietrich Preservation Consulting and an advisor to the Morningside Heights Historic District Committee during the landmarking saga.

    The LPC ultimately approved a designation "limited to the building's exterior," according to the designation report. Looking back on the decision, Dietrich called the decision "a travesty since it did not consider the site's greater significance." Many community members and local pols felt the same way. And in 2003, the City Council voted unanimously against landmark designation for the structure.


    A protest outside the cathedral to oppose construction, via Columbia Spectator.

    The decision was led by Bill Perkins, a council member who represented the area. As he told the New York Times in 2003, "'It was a declarative statement that St. John the Divine should be landmarked in totality, not piecemeal. It is, quite frankly, an insult to the historical value of this world-renowned church to have it piecemeal like this.'' (Perkins did not respond to requests for comment.)

    And so, like in the 1960s, the cathedral remained unprotected—and stayed that way. A new proposal to designate the close never made it to the LPC, and by 2006, the cathedral entered into a 99-year ground lease with AvalonBay to erect a residential building, Avalon Morningside Park, on the southeast site of the close.


    Avalon Morningside Park via Wikipedia.

    Then, in 2013, the cathedral released a proposal to develop a rental building with the Brodsky Organization on the north side of its campus. A new resolution surfaced to landmark the entire cathedral campus except for the portion already carved out for the Brodsky Organization's towers, but it never came through. And, despite much community opposition, development of the towers is now well underway, obscuring views of the church from the north.


    Rendering of the development via Handel Architects.

    "The money from the developments will help stabilize the cathedral," said Kowalski. "We need the financial resources to support the architecture." The cathedral will get $5 million a year from the new development; Kowalski said that it'll take anywhere from $100 to $200 million to maintain and continue construction of the structure.

    Kowalski said that the diocese is still open to designating the cathedral, and that there are no other parcels within the close that have been targeted for development. But Dietrich considers the latest development "the final nail in the coffin of this unofficial world heritage site."


    Construction progress two months ago, via Field Condition.

    As for any future landmarking motion, "I think the community would view the designation of the close as a hollow victory at this point since it has been irrevocably compromised by unsympathetic new development that neither respects nor defers to the historic buildings and spaces," said Dietrich. He still feels, however, that the LPC is likely to designate the cathedral at some point in an effort to designate at least something on the property.

    "It probably goes without saying that one could never imagine such developments occurring on the sites of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. or Notre Dame in Paris," he said. "But in NYC, anything is fair game despite the fact that we have one of the strongest preservation laws in the country to prevent travesties such as this."

    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2015/0...landmarked.php

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    For a church organization whose NYC R/E portfolio is worth in the billions, The Cathedral is an unwanted project and drain on capital resources. Even a remote desire to landmark would cut off possible funds from these curtain wall structures being built around it to I think help to forget it. Everybody turns away from gazing at UGLY. The change from the late eighties and the desire to start the stone work again is a managerial decision, same as the decision to currently desist in that temporary going forward vision. Structural reinforcements sounds like such an easy cushy way to make cash that cannot really be accounted for.

    THE OBSCENE Cultural Rape of the community by greed at the Cathedral Close at present with these modern structures means nothing in the long term building timeline of any great cathedral. I look at the Ugly Modern architecture as metaphoric scaffolding and can be gotten rid on in a decade or two and torn down in a month or two. The will to finish the great building sadly is not there. Modern men have little vision or imagination or even much of a touch of spirituality I fear.
    Last edited by Statun-Ilandur; August 28th, 2015 at 01:35 PM.

  11. #161

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    Quote Originally Posted by Statun-Ilandur View Post
    For a church organization whose NYC R/E portfolio is worth in the billions, The Cathedral is an unwanted project and drain on capital resources.
    This church has little money. They couldn't even afford to renovate the church after the fire, and they have no way of actually completing the church. I have no idea where you came up with the idea that they have hidden "billions".

    Quote Originally Posted by Statun-Ilandur View Post
    THE OBSCENE Cultural Rape of the community by greed at the Cathedral Close at present with these modern structures means nothing in the long term building timeline of any great cathedral.
    LOL! The new buildings were built on what was a parking lot. The Cathedral Close was never touched. It's 1000 times better than before.

    The only reason that there was any "controversy" is because NIMBY neighbors didn't want their views blocked from new apartment buildings. Otherwise, they don't care. They don't even want the church landmarked anymore; they just previously wanted the parking lot sites landmarked so buildings could be blocked.

  12. #162
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    It has been decades since I lived in “NIMBY” whatever that PC RE anglo-elitist term truly represents. HongKong-ization of the neighborhood, covering everything over with square footage – living and work “space” seems now to be a norm. I only hope they don’t sell the air rights to the cathedral and cover it all in a cocoon of concrete like Chernobyl or MSG as in the case of the old Penn Station. Best to hide the disaster perhaps. Beauty is in indeed in the eyes of the beholder or those condemned to remember a kinder, gentler, more peaceful piece of landscape on Amsterdam Avenue. Or best at this terminal of history to just demolish it I think and make more modern function and more parking space for Columbia?

  13. #163

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    Quote Originally Posted by ASchwarz View Post
    LOL! ...The Cathedral Close was never touched. It's 1000 times better than before.
    I must respectfully disagree. Perhaps we could debate about whether this lovely new building has made the Cathedral Close 998x or 999x better than before, but 1000x better than before? Sir, that just goes too far.

  14. #164
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    Everybody loves to appropriate these churches under public architectural ownership but the reality is that these are private organizations who own them and they have to be cash flow positive to stay "in business", whether that business involves selling goods and services or involves saving souls. I don't see anyone clamoring for the city to purchase these old churches and cathedrals and pay for operations and maintenance

  15. #165
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    a business which is not taxed

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