Staten Island armory and church complex designated

Headquarters Troop of the 51st Cavalry Brigade Armonry at 321 Manor Road in Castleton Corners, Staten island. Image: LPC

Christ Church and castle-inspired 51st Calvary Armory designated. On August 10, 2010, Landmarks voted unanimously to designate the Headquarters Troop of the 51st Cavalry Brigade Armory and the Christ Church complex in Staten Island as two individual City landmarks. The Armory is located at 321 Manor Road in Castleton Corners, and Christ Church is located at 74 Franklin Avenue in New Brighton. Landmarks held public hearings on both structures in August 2009. 6 CityLand 126 (Sept. 15, 2009).

The Headquarters Troop Armory dates to 1926 and retains its historic function as a National Guard installation. The firm of Werner & Windolph designed the red brick-faced building to resemble a medieval castle with three-story towers, corner turrets, and crenellated parapets. This building is unique among the City’s armories because the National Guard sited it on a large grassy parcel in a suburban area. Landmarks only included the western portion of the armory’s expansive campus in the designation in order to permit unregulated use by the National Guard. Former Council Member Kenneth Mitchell and the State Division of Military and Naval Affairs supported designation at the August 2009 hearing.

The Commissioners generally praised the building, with Margery Perlmutter remarking that although it was designed for military purposes, it possessed a “fanciful” quality. Commissioner Stephen Byrns praised the building’s unusual brickwork and castle-like features noting that it was “flexing all its muscles in defense of the City and the country.”

The Christ Church complex comprises a church, parish house, rectory, and cloister; all of which are clad in granite and modeled on late Gothic English architecture. Christ Church was established in 1849, but the existing buildings date to the early 1900s with the exception of the 1879-built rectory. Isaac Pursell designed the church and the parish house, and although he was the architect of many religious buildings throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Christ Church represents his only work in New York City. The church has an extensive collection of stained-glass windows including five from Tiffany Studios. Representatives of the congregation supported designation at the August 2009 hearing.

Commissioner Diana Chapin said the complex’s ancillary buildings enhanced the “very fine” neo- Gothic church structure. Commissioner Perlmutter approved designation, noting that the complex was an unusual example of an urban church campus. Chair Robert B. Tierney said the “remarkable complex” was beautifully maintained and thanked the representatives of the church for being responsible custodians of the property.

LPC: Headquarters Troop, 51st Cavalry Brigade Armory, 321 Manor Rd., Staten Island (LP-2369); Christ Church, 74 Franklin Ave., Staten Island (LP-2383) (Aug. 10, 2010).

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