Saturday, January 7, 2017

Photo of the Day: Fort Washington Presbyterian Church, NYC

Fort Washington Presbyterian Church stands at the corner of Wadsworth Avenue and 174th Street, in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. I had observed this church for quite a while, on my way to the subway station at 168th Street, and one day in October I took this photo.

This photo only gives you some idea of what drew my eye over time to this religious institution. Fundamentally, it imposes itself on the surroundings: sitting on the crest of a hill, looking down toward the dip that nearby Broadway takes, with, looming above everything, its five-stage bell tower, embellished with classical motifs.

Then there is the look itself of this neo-Georgian building: buff-colored brick laid in Flemish bond and trimmed with Indiana limestone, topped off with a “rubbed finish.”

The church, built in 1913 and 1914, was designed by Thomas Hastings (1860–1929) of Carrere and Hastings. The architect, the son of a Presbyterian pastor, was sensitive to the nuances of church design.

In 1982 Fort Washington Presbyterian’s congregation turned over the church to the Primera Iglesia Espa┼łola de Washington Heights, a Hispanic congregation formed on the Heights in the 1940s. The building’s name was then changed to Iglesia Presbitereriana Fort Washington Heights. In 1909, this historic church was designated a New York City Landmark.

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