Take a look at it while you still can. St. John Divine sold what was an empty plot of land along its northern wall that runs the length of space on W.113th St. between Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Drive. The new residential towers that will be built there are going to damage views of the Cathedral from both near and far. But it’s probably good for the neighborhood. The new apartment buildings will fill in the dead space right across from the Emergency Room of St. Luke’s Hospital as well as the dead space created by the nearby walls of Columbia University cornered at W.114th St. and running up Amsterdam.
About the “real estate initiative” you can read more here at the Cathedral website. As Jane Jacobs understood, this kind of mixed-use institution and residential building sites make for better neighborhoods. For now, building site is a pretty exciting spectacle. I like the traffic of dump trucks and the claws of the huge orange excavators digging away into the pit deep alongside the foundation walls of the Cathedral. Adding a rough look to religion, it looks a little like a desecration. St. John the Divine is a good citizen. Like the they did for the apartments built along the south-east corner of its property on W. 110th Street, the Cathedral is insisting on the inclusion of medium income rental units. Also, the design will include a gap between two towers that will allow people on the street to peek in at a bit of the north wall where there’s a prominent arch. But I’ll miss looking up and down along the entirety of the north wall.