Muni; Around New York with Robert C. Weinberg; Little Church Around the Corner
This record is featured in “Protecting Places: Historic Preservation and Public Broadcasting.”
- Little Church Around the Corner
- Contributing Organization
- WNYC (New York, New York)
- AAPB ID
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- This is Robert C. Weinberg critic at large an architecture and planning with some observations on the changes being made to a little church that happens to be right around the corner from where I live. On another comment in the series I told you about the problems of designing a great cathedral which is to be a viewed from afar as a towering symbol and a high place. There are also churches was objective is just the reverse - to be modest unassuming and to fit quietly into the neighborhoods where they are situated. In Greenwich Village just north of Washington Square there's a short private street known as McDougal Alley. This connects with the north end of MacDougal Street like the leg of a T. At the center of the intersection stands an eight story loft building of indeterminate age and undistinguished appearance. Apparently erected as a factory in the 1880s. It has been used for a number of years now as the local branch of the Christian Science Church, which is occupied its two lower floors without alteration to the exterior. The congregation has for some time been considering whether to build a new church on the present site or to erect one elsewhere. They decided against moving away for the very good reason that this location in the heart Greenwich Village is convenient for most of its members. But to take down the old factory and put up a new church would raise two problems. Demolition is very costly and it is not possible under the present zoning to erect in the small plot anything nearly as much in the way of volume of building that could be obtained by remodeling the existing structure. So calling an architect Victor Christihamer, they presented him with a program for renovating the old building in a way that would not only provide than their modest budget the necessary space for the church's auditorium, waiting rooms, offices and other facilities, but also to present the neighborhood with an appropriate new face. Recognizing the way in which the site related to MacDougal alley the architect wisely is keeping his design and harmony with the alleys remodeled carriage houses, by avoiding fussiness of detail to the extent of utmost simplicity. All of the pseudo Romanesque Hugo of the 1880 loft building will be removed and a plain brick front back on the sides of the building will be applied. There will be a single narrow tall window in the center whose glass panels, clearly transparent by day and illuminated at night, will reveal the staircase that connects the several floors inside. The street entrance with with its traditional showcases for for church publications will be kept compact and unadorned, the whole building blending neatly into the intimate scale of the two narrow village arteries whose intersection serves as a comparatively quiet transition between the bright shopping scene on Eighth Street and the residential dignity of Washington Square north. Architect Christihamer's proposed treatment of this church Moreover with its neat human scale facade carefully devoid of flourishes much less of any pseudo historical decorations is exactly the sort of thing which the designation of going to religious as an historic district when that is finally achieved is intended to encourage. Here we have an admirable example of just what the community hope to see done throughout the village name of the alteration of existing buildings or erection of new ones in keeping with the character of the neighborhood, fitting in with it not disturbing it. To have saved the rather hideous late Victorian commercial facade would have been silly, to apply a fake pseudo Greek Revival stage set in the misguided unmatching the genuine early one nine hundred centuries house around the corner would have been a hypocritical sham to say the least. While to have disfigured the front of the building in contemporary cliche as if it were an attention calling signboard, which would have been very disturbing. What was called for here following the spirit of the starry district designation which Greenwich Villagers are urging the Landmarks Commission to enact without further delay is to clothe the refurbished Christian Science Church as a simple honest and ostentatious neighbor modestly taking its place in an area which contains a variety of buildings and fitting quietly into their midst. If built of the present design, the architect will hear of succeeded in carrying out his assignment in the true spirit of one of the most historic districts are New York. This is Robert C. Weinberg critic at large an architecture and planning.
- 1 - 7in. reel 1tk. 7.5ips. T1968 tape consists of three separate commentaries: 150082, 150757 and 150758.
- Arts.; Art.; Architecture
- Media type
Host: Weinberg, Robert C. (Robert Charles), 1901-1974
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: 150758.1 (WNYC Media Archive Label)
Generation: Audio/Transcription dub
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- Chicago: “Muni; Around New York with Robert C. Weinberg; Little Church Around the Corner,” 1966-12-07, WNYC, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 18, 2019, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_510-vt1gh9c726.
- MLA: “Muni; Around New York with Robert C. Weinberg; Little Church Around the Corner.” 1966-12-07. WNYC, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 18, 2019. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_510-vt1gh9c726>.
- APA: Muni; Around New York with Robert C. Weinberg; Little Church Around the Corner. Boston, MA: WNYC, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_510-vt1gh9c726