Built in 1893-94 for the Fourth Presbyterian Church, the current facilities of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation were designed by the firm of Heins & LaFarge, who are perhaps best known as the original architects for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
The Gothic Revival style building has a rusticated masonry facade trimmed at the portals and large windows with a sparing use of Venetian Gothic and neo-Romanesque Revival details. The focal point of the church buildings is the square bell tower at the corner of 91st Street and West End Avenue with its crenelated parapet embellished with gargoyle gutter-spouts, foliate carvings, and angels’ heads.
The interior of the church contains impressive contributions from both congregations. The original pews and balcony, carved in a Gothic motif, are of highly polished dark stained wood. The ceiling vaults are mildly sloped and consist of plaster panels framed in the same wood. The deeply colored pictorial stained glass windows depicting the Ascension and the Transfiguration on the north and west walls are reputed to be the work of the Tiffany studios.
In 1957 the Greek Orthodox congregation added an intricately carved wooden screen with inset panels of gilt icons to separate the sanctuary from the nave ("Iconostatis"). In addition, three voluminous, multi-tiered crystal chandeliers were imported from Czechoslovakia in the 1960’s.
The adjacent two and one-half story Community Hall was originally constructed to house the Sunday School classrooms, committee rooms, the church office, and a sexton’s apartment. An Equity-certified, 92-seat, Off-Off Broadway Theater, with dressing rooms and backstage was installed in the basement of the Community Hall in 1980.
The parish is in possession of a rare and magnificent Skinner organ. For more information about the organ, please visit our page on the NYC Chapter of the American Guild of Organists web site.
Read about our parish history next.
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