Lower Manhattan’s First House of Worship Gets a Facelift
Above: A rendering of the new stained-glass window planned for Trinity Church.
Below: The existing window, which is a modern replacement of a now-vanished historic original, has fallen into serious disrepair.
The ongoing evolution of Lower Manhattan’s preeminent landmark, Trinity Church, is proceeding with new signage on the fence surrounding the property, and a new stained glass window within its facade, facing Broadway.
Most recently, following a December 8 hearing, the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approved requests to add two pairs of new signs (one set of traditional display frames and one pair of digital screens) to Trinity’s exterior fence, which dates from 1827.
In June, the LPC also approved a request by Trinity to remove and replace the existing stained-glass window on the building’s Broadway facade, which measures 11 feet wide by 27 feet tall. The current window, itself a modern replacement of a historic original, contains only a repeating set of decorative patterns and colors, and has fallen into serious disrepair.
The new window is being designed by British stained-glass artist Thomas Denny, and is “intended to convey the mission of Trinity Church, serving as a constant reminder of our obligation to use the gifts which God has given us in the service of the greater community.” Mr. Denny’s design will illustrate the Parable of Talents, from the Gospel of Matthew, with jewel tones to reflect the colors of the surrounding chancel, and red hues to blend with the brownstone that frames the window.
Illustrations of two new types of signage planned for Trinity’s exterior fence — one conventional (left) and one digital (right).
Trinity Church once dominated the skyline of Lower Manhattan, and remains a spiritual and cultural touchstone of the Downtown community to this day. The structure that now stands at Broadway and Wall Street is actually the third incarnation of the same house of worship, which has occupied the site since 1696. The current Church was completed in 1846, when its 281-foot spire made it the tallest building in the United States. A church in Chicago wrested that title away 23 years later, but Trinity remained the tallest structure in New York until 1883, when the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge surpassed it.
To oversee the planned rehabilitation, Trinity has hired the architectural firm of Murphy, Burnham, and Buttrick, which shepherded a 2016 restoration of the similarly august St. Paul’s Chapel (located at Broadway and Vesey Streets)—part of the same Episcopal parish. (The same firm also captained a 2012 restoration of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.)
Trinity’s plans for a new window and updated signage are part of a larger rejuvenation project, the first comprehensive update in more than 70 years. The project is meant to “express Trinity’s evolving mission, values, and ambitions for the next 50 years.”
Helping the structure into the 21st century will be a pair of ramps designed to ease accessibility for the handicapped. These ramps will be surfaced with bluestone and are designed in style consistent with the existing facade, which will make them blend seamlessly with Trinity’s neo-Gothic design idiom. Another modern (but similarly subtle) touch will be the addition of light-emitting diodes for luminous accents, inside and out.
A Different Kind of Test Scores
COVID Report Card for Lower Manhattan Schools
A review of data from the New York State Department of Health (DOH) indicate that the spread of the pandemic coronavirus among Lower Manhattan public schools is well contained, with a total of 14 cases at five schools. To read more…
The story in Monday’s BroadsheetDAILY relied on New York State Department of Health data to quantify the number of students, teachers, and school staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 at Lower Manhattan schools. Because the Department of Health does not separate data between teachers and non-teacher staff, the Broadsheet also combined these categories. P.S./I.S. 276 principal Terri Ruyter points out that the three positive tests at her school were confined to non-teacher staff (who had no contact with students), and that these results were from October.
Build Your Dream House
The Church Street School for Music and Art will continue a decades-long Downtown tradition (albeit, in virtual form, as a concession to COVID-19) by offeringGingerbread House Decorating Kits (priced at $85), now through Christmas week.
Each take home kit includes one homemade gingerbread house, a variety of candy, freshly made icing, and one foiled round to set your house up on. In addition to offering great holiday fun, this program is one of the most important fundraisers for the highly regarded non-profit institution that has brought enrichment to the lives of generations of Lower Manhattan kids.
The Downtown Alliance is donating $10,000 each to 11 local arts and cultural groups, as part of its ongoing effort to spearhead the recovery of Lower Manhattan from the pandemic coronavirus, and the economic downtown that it unleashed.
The recipients of these grants include the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, the 9/11 Tribute Museum, the Battery Dance Company, the China Institute, Fraunces Tavern Museum, Gibney Dance, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, Poets House, the Skyscraper Museum, the South Street Seaport Museum, and the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. The funding for these grants comes from Brookfield Properties, Silverstein Properties and the Howard Hughes Corporation. To read more…
The Not-So-Okay Corral
DOT Overrules Community Concerns about Delivery Bike Facility in Tribeca
The City’s Department of Transportation has ignored calls from Community Board 1 to address concerns of Tribeca residents before installing a cargo bike corral on Warren Street (between West and Greenwich Streets), to facilitate the use of powered bicycles when making grocery deliveries. To read more…
Over the past few days, downtowners have witnessed extremes of life and death in the Hudson River—a humpback whale exploring the waterway, surfacing, flipping its tail as if to wave at the Statue of Liberty; and many dead fish floating at the river’s edge and in North Cove, with more expiring around them, frantically gulping for air at the surface.
Are these sightings linked? We checked with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
Imagine what it’s like to be a kid who, for some reason, isn’t on Santa’s list. Now, just imagine what a huge impact you can make in the life of a child and their parents by being their secret Santa.
Stockings with Care, a charity based in Lower Manhattan, steps in to help when parents cannot provide Christmas gifts for their children, so no child is left out. But the organization, which has benefited over 40,000 children since 1992, needs your help. The parents give the gifts that donors (such as you) provide to the child, preserving their dignity and connection, while ensuring the gifts received are the ones the child wished for. Stockings with Care has created five easy ways to contribute.
Two separate residential towers planned for the Financial District are suffering from the local real estate slowdown. In developments first reported by the online real estate journal, YIMBY, the building now under construction at 161 Maiden Lane has undergone removal of pieces of its facade in recent weeks (the only recent activity on the otherwise-stalled project), while construction equipment has been removed from 45 Broad Street, which is the site of a planned 1,115 foot residential tower.