Landmarks Calendars Yorkville Church

The First Hungarian Reformed Church. Image Credit: NYC LPC

The 103-year-old church still serves the same congregation. On January 22, 2019, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to calendar the First Hungarian Reformed Church for landmarks designation consideration. The church, located at 346 East 69th Street between First and Second Avenues, was built in 1915 and designed by architect Emery Roth. The First Hungarian Reformed Church was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 31, 2000.

The church’s historical significance lies in its connection to the Hungarian immigrant and Hungarian-American community that emerged in Yorkville toward the end of the 19th Century. The First Hungarian Reformed congregation was founded in 1895 as Hungarian immigrants began to arrive in New York City. The Hungarian immigrants started settling in Yorkville after 1900, and the area became known as “Little Hungary.”

In 1914, the congregation purchased three rowhouses. Two of the row houses were demolished to construct the church, and the other was converted to a parsonage. The church still serves the local Hungarian-American community to this day.

Emery Roth, a Hungarian immigrant, was commissioned to construct the church. During his career, Roth designed many iconic New York hotels, apartment buildings, and office buildings, but only five religious structures. Out of the one church and four synagogues that Roth designed, only two, including the First Hungarian Reformed Church, remain standing.

The church features both Secessionist and Arts and Crafts details. The yellow building has a prominent 80-foot-tall tower that stands out amongst the block of 19th-century rowhouses that neighbor the church. The church features a three-bay symmetrical facade with flat walls and stylized patterns.  A large, circular window above the entrance highlights the geometric features of the building associated with the Secessionist style. The roof is in the Craftsman design.

Landmarks voted unanimously to calendar the church for consideration. According to Landmarks Chair Sarah Carroll, Landmarks had been examining Yorkville for architecturally-significant properties for potential designation that also had ties to the history of the immigrant population. Landmarks will hold a public hearing for the designation of this church at a later date.


By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw Fellow and a New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2018.)



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