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Avenue A church is officially designated a landmark

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.thevillager.com/villager_296/avenuea.html St. Nicholas of Myra Church at E. 10th St. and Avenue A. Avenue A church is officially designated a
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 2, 2009
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      http://www.thevillager.com/villager_296/avenuea.html

      St. Nicholas of Myra Church at E. 10th St. and Avenue A.

      Avenue A church is officially designated a landmark

      By Albert Amateau

      The Landmarks Preservation Commission two weeks ago designated St.
      Nicholas of Myra Orthodox Church at E. 10th St. and Avenue A as a
      city landmark.

      Designed by James Renwick, Jr., the 19th-century architect whose work
      includes Grace Church and St. Patrick's Cathedral, the church
      building was built between 1882 and 1883 for the Memorial Chapel of
      St. Mark's-in-the-Bowery, one of the city's oldest Episcopal
      parishes, to serve the immigrant population of what is now the East Village.

      Rutherford Stuyvesant, a descendant of Peter Stuyvesant, Dutch
      director-general of New Netherland, donated the church to St. Mark's
      in 1882, replacing a smaller building on Avenue A. In 1911, St.
      Mark's rented the brick-and-terra cotta building to the Holy Trinity
      Slovak Lutheran Church, which remained there until 1925. At that
      point, a Carpatho-Russian Orthodox congregation leased the building
      and named it after St. Nicholas, archbishop of Myra in Asia Minor in
      the fourth-century and patron saint of children, students and sailors.

      The congregation of immigrants and descendants of people from eastern
      Slovakia, southeast Poland and southwestern Ukraine rented the
      building from St. Mark's for $100 a month and bought it in 1937.

      "This lively, picturesque church has anchored the neighborhood for
      more than 100 years and served thousands of immigrants as they tried
      to adapt to their new country," said L.P.C. Chairperson Robert Tierney.

      At the public hearing on the landmarking on Oct. 28, there was no
      opposition and seven speakers testified in favor of the designation,
      including City Councilmember Rosie Mendez and representatives from
      the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, the Historic
      Districts Council, the Society for the Architecture of the City, the
      Metropolitan Chapter of the Victorian Society in America, the
      Landmarks Conservancy and the Municipal Art Society.

      The church was among 130 East Village and Lower East Side buildings
      that the L.P.C. identified as potential landmarks in a survey two years ago.

      Designed in the Renaissance-revival style with gothic arch windows,
      the church is still the home of the congregation that moved into it
      83 years ago. The building consists of a three-and-a-half story
      school and library on the southwest corner of E. 10th St. and Avenue
      A, connected by a two-story section to a gabled sanctuary seating 500
      worshipers facing 10th St.

      The church is faced with red brick with terra-cotta ornament. The
      Eastern Orthodox-style copper crosses on the gable end of the chapel,
      the entrance porch and the tower were added later.

      In addition to Grace Church, St. Patrick's Cathedral and St.
      Nicholas, Renwick designed Calvary Church on Park Ave. South at E.
      21st St. and several churches in Brooklyn and Manhattan long since
      demolished. He also designed the Smithsonian Institution and the
      Corcoran Gallery buildings in Washington, D.C., as well as Vassar
      College's main building in Poughkeepsie. A lighthouse and the 1856
      Smallpox Hospital both on Roosevelt Island are two existing Renwick
      buildings designated as New York City landmarks.
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