St. Bartholomew's Church
Park Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets, Church: Bertram Goodhue [1919], Entrance Portico: McKim Mead and White [1902]

Built during and after the completion of Grand Central Terminal, this fashionable Episcopal parish church catered to the rich residents of the new Park Avenue North.

Goodhue's limestone and brick building is fronted by a Romanesque Revival entrance portal relocated from McKim Mead and White's earlier church on lower Madison Avenue. In order to harmonize with the portal, the architects built the new church in an amalgam of Romanesque and Byzanitine styles. At the same time, the clean-lined and planar surfaces of its polychromatic walls reveal a more modernist sensiblity than that which guided the portal's design. Underbuilt with regard to New York City's zoning codes, in the 1980s the church was the focus of a heated debate over air rights. Citing constitutional principles and financial need, the congregation sought to replace its community house and garden with a high-rise office tower. In the end, the Supreme Court silently stood by its 1978 Grand Central Station decision, preventing the church from proceeding with its plans and turning the St. Bartholomew's case into a victory for landmark preservation interests in the city.