Church of the Intercession (Manhattan)
Chapel of the Intercession Complex
|Location||550 West 155th Street
Manhattan, New York City
|Architect||Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue|
|Architectural style||church: Late English Gothic Revival, and others
vicarage: Tudor Revival
|NRHP Reference #||80002677|
|Added to NRHP||July 24, 1980|
|Designated NYCL||August 16, 1966|
The Church of the Intercession is an Episcopal congregation located at 550 West 155th Street, at Broadway, on the border of the Harlem and Washington Heights neighborhoods of Manhattan, New York City, on the grounds of Trinity Church Cemetery. The congregation was founded in 1846, and the current sanctuary, built in 1912-15, was designed by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue in the Gothic Revival style. From 1906-1976, it was a chapel of Trinity Church.
The congregation which became the Church of the Intercession was founded in 1846 in Carmansville, a hamlet which would later be known as Audubon Park before becoming part of the Washington Heights neighborhood, by John James Audubon and John R. Morewood; it was incorporated in 1847. Services were inititially held in Morewood's home, with members who came from both Trinity Church on Broadway and Wall Street, and from the Church of the Ascension at Fifth Avenue and 10th Street.
In 1847, the congregation completed building their first sanctuary, a Victorian Gothic style wooden structure at West 154th Street and Tenth Avenue (now Amsterdam Avenue). The building's outline can still be seen on what was the adjoining building. In 1871, the vestry decided to move the parish and sell the building.
The congregation's next church was a stone building designed by Rembrandt Lockwood and located at 158th Street and Grand Boulevard, which is now Broadway. However, dissension within the congregation suppressed financial support for the parish, which became insolvent; the church as attached by the sheriff, and services proceeded only on the sufferance of the authorities.
Eventually, the congregation was able to recover the church, but by 1906 it was overcrowded, and the parish was still in debt. To alleviate these problems, a deal was struck with Trinity Church, which had intended to build a chapel on the grounds of its cemetery, to disestablish the Church of the Intercession as an independent parish, to become a Trinity Chapel, the Chapel of the Intercession. The cornerstone of a new sanctuary was laid in 1912, and the building was consecrated in 1915. The architect, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue of Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson, was a master of the Gothic Revival style, and the resulting church is considered to be his masterpiece. Goodhue incorporated elements from other styles into the building, such as the narrow and tall entrances which evoke the English Perpendicular style, while the Decorated Period can be seen in the tracery of the pointed windows, and the tower suggests the Tudor style.
- David Hurd composed the Intercession Mass during his tenure as church organist. This mass setting is used in many Episcopal congregations.
- The church is known for its annual Clement Clarke Moore Festival, the oldest continuing Christmas tradition in New York. It takes place on the Sunday before Christmas at 4pm. In 2010 celebrated the one-hundredth anniversary of the tradition. At the center of the service is the reading of Moore's narrative poem "A Visit from Saint Nicholas".
- Moore, among others of the New York social elite of the time, are buried in the adjoining Trinity Church Cemetery. Also in the cemetery is an imposing monument to John James Audubon. John Jacob Astor is also buried here, as is Alfred Tennyson Dickens, the son of Charles Dickens. A monument to the architect, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, sculpted by his friend Lee Lawrie in 1929, contains his tomb.
In popular culture
- The basement of the church was used in the 2012 TV series 666 Park Avenue as The Drake's "secret room."
- In the season 1, episode 4 New Amsterdam episode of AMC drama Mad Men, Trudy Campbell divulges to a member of the co-op board that Pete's great-great grandfather Nicholas Dykeman is buried at The Church of the Intercession.
- List of New York City Landmarks
- National Register of Historic Places listings in New York County, New York
- National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- "A Brief History of the Church of the Intercession" on the church website
- New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission "Chapel of the Intercession Designation Report" (August 16, 1966)
- New York Landmarks Preservation Commission "Vicarage of the Chapel of the Intercession Designation Report" (August 16, 1966)
- Text and Photos on the National Park Service website
- Grinnell, George Bird. "Audubon Park: A Brief History" (part 1) on the Audubon Park website
- Dunlap, David W. (2004). From Abyssinian to Zion. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-12543-7., p.112
- "Church of the Intercession (second location)" on the Audubon Park website
- "Church of the Intercession" on the Audubon Park website
- White, Norval; Willensky, Elliot; Leadon, Fran (2010). AIA Guide to New York City (5th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195383867., p.558
- "City Architecture Stars in '666 Park'". The Wall Street Journal. 2012-09-28.
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