I took this photo of St. Bartholomew’s Church, located on Park Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets, a few days ago. But the beauty of this scene lies in the fact that it could have been taken at almost any time since 1918, when this church of the Episcopal Diocese of New York moved to its current home.
It might not have turned out that way 35 years ago, when a real estate developer’s plan to build an office tower on the site of the adjacent community house caused a media firestorm. Though the church desired the financial endowment accruing from the project to assure its mission and maintenance, the proposal provoked opposition from historic preservationists, including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The developer’s proposal fell through in 1991, when the Supreme Court declined to hear the parish’s appeal of of the Second Circuit decision against the project. The scene here, then, remains a welcome island within Manhattan skyscrapers.