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Riverside Church

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Riverside Church
490-498 Riverside Drive, 485 Riverside Drive, 81 Claremont Avenue


Structure in General

existing [completed]
light brown


church (baptist)


  • An Indiana limestone curtain wall disguises the building's steel frame, which was used to speed construction and support the immense weight of the seventy-two-bell carillon housed in the tower's upper stories, donated in honor of Laura Spelman Rockefeller.
  • Built in an era when most Manhattan churches were literally being overshadowed by corporate and residential skyscrapers, the 392-foot high tower provided the new congregation with a strong presence on the skyline and in Morningside Heights.
  • Located in Morningside Heights on a high bluff overlooking the Hudson River, The Riverside Church is one of the best known religious structures in New York City.
  • An ecumenical church, with its roots in the Baptist faith, its history reflects the modernist religious theology of its founding pastor Harry Emerson Fosdick.
  • The church was financed with gifts from members of the church, including the industrialist and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
  • The neo-Gothic style complex consists of three distinct sections: a five-bay nave and chancel extending north toward West 122nd Street, a mid-block twenty-two story tower housing the narthex, Christ Chapel, belfry, offices and meeting rooms, as well as a one-and-half story "cloister" passage extending east to Claremont Avenue.
  • The architects Henry C. Pelton and Allen & Collens based their design on mainly French Gothic structures, especially the Cathedral at Chartres.

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More Information


490-498 Riverside Drive
West 122nd Street, 81 Claremont Avenue, 621 West 120th Street
490 Riverside Drive
Morningside Heights
New York City
New York

Technical Data

119.48 m
119.48 m

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Features & Amenities

  • One of the city's famous buildings
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