Landmarks Designates Holyrood Church, Educational Building

Holyrood Episcopal Church-Iglesia Santa Cruz, one of the three sites calendared by LPC on January 19th. Image Credit: LPC

Both buildings were landmarked as part of the agency’s Equity Framework. On May 18, 2021, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to unanimously designate Holyrood Episcopal Church-Iglesia Santa Cruz in Washington Heights and the Educational Building in Greenwich Village as the City’s newest landmarks. The two buildings were landmarked as part of Landmarks’ new Equity Framework, which highlights the agency’s efforts for designations that represent the city’s diverse and inclusive history.

The Holyrood Episcopal Church-Iglesia Santa Cruz, located at 715 West 179th Street in Manhattan is architecturally and culturally significant. The church has served as an “important social and religious anchor” for the neighborhood, and its congregation has reflected the neighborhood’s changing demographics. The church serves many social needs for the neighborhood, serving as a sanctuary space for undocumented individuals and families, and keeping its doors open to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Educational Building, at 70 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, is historically significant for its many social justice-oriented tenants, including the NAACP, the National Civil Liberties Bureau (a precursor of the ACLU), the Women’s Peace Party, the New York Teachers Union, and the League for Industrial Democracy, among other tenants. The Beaux Arts style L-shaped office building features intricate details that call back to the building’s commission, ordered by book publisher George Arthur Plimpton. The building is currently owned by the New School.

70 Fifth Avenue, the Educational Building. Image Credit: LPC

Both buildings received wide support during their designation process. For CityLand’s prior coverage, click here

Landmarks Chair Sarah Carroll stated, “LPC is committed to ensuring diversity and inclusion in our designations. As part of our equity framework launched earlier this year, we are prioritizing designations like 70 Fifth Avenue and Holyrood Episcopal Church-Iglesia Santa Cruz, to make sure that we are telling the stories of all New Yorkers. 70 Fifth Avenue recognizes the important contributions of the NAACP, as well as many progressive organizations that advanced social justice and equity and Holyrood Episcopal Church recognizes the history of New York City’s Latino community in Upper Manhattan.”

Father Luis Barrios of Holyrood Church-Iglesia Santa Cruz stated, “For over 125 years Holyrood Church-Iglesia Santa Cruz has been the heart and soul of Washington Heights. We believe that the beauty of being a landmark is defined not only by the beauty of its physical structure but also by its ability to allow the community to have access to enjoy this space as a zone of liberation to reaffirm and accompany them in their daily struggles. Hence, we are proud to move our church into this new phase of interconnectedness and interdependence with the community.”

Tokumbo Shobowale, Executive Vice President for Business and Operations for The New School stated, “As an institution founded to engage citizens in solving pressing social issues, The New School has long advanced the values of social justice and equality to strengthen our community. We welcome the designation, which recognizes the vital history of this building that today houses the university’s acclaimed Sheila Johnson Design Center, an academic and creative hub located at 70 Fifth Avenue. The space reflects The New School’s rigorous, multidimensional approach to education and provides a street-level view into the innovative work of our Parsons School of Design community.”

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



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