This church is endangered not by developers which have undermined the integrity of historic religious institutions in recent years, but is endangered, since it is in need of some major repairs to its 1895 building, including restoration of its intricate wooden doors, weatherproofing, electrical work, roofing, refinishing, the cleaning and repair of stained glass, and the installation of historic-style railings around the church's stoop. Similar repairs are needed for the adjoining 1931 Church House. Restoration is often costly, particularly for many religious institutions citywide, but the salvation of a historic religious edifice is priceless.
There is no admission fee, and a free-will offering will be collected, to benefit the restoration and upgrades of one of Queens' greatest "Landmarks at heart!" The church and its bell are symbols of the lost history of Queens, and have withstood the test of time. Your help is most crucial towards preserving this historic site for future generations to cherish. Please help by spreading the word, and bringing your family and friends.
If you cannot attend this restoration fundraiser concert, & would still like to help restore a site with 17th century Newtown roots, please send donations to:
First Presbyterian Church of Newtown Building Fund
54-05 Seabury St, Elmhurst, NY 11373.
("Building Fund" must be noted on the check.)
The First Presbyterian Church of Newtown is a greatly intact Gothic brownstone masterpiece from 1895 with a bell tower, stained glass windows, a pitched roof, and elaborate woodwork. The church’s congregation dates to 1652, making it one of New York City’s earliest extant. Originally a community church, it officially became Presbyterian in 1715. The church was founded in the wilderness (now Elmhurst) of the Dutch Colony of New Netherlands, and has survived war, invasion, and religious and political persecution. In 1924, the church faced another hurdle. Queens Boulevard was slated to be widened by the city, and therefore, the sole hope of salvation was transporting it. Teamwork resulted in an engineering marvel, as the 5 million-pound church was moved 125 feet.
The church has a bell which dates to 1788, and was installed in its 4th church building erected in 1791, just after the American Revolution. This replaced its 3rd church, which was desecrated by British soldiers and demolished. The bell survived the destruction of that church by fire, and the moving of the present church a half-block in the 1920s, which caused the loss of its original huge steeple. The bell was originally in an edifice on a single-lane dirt road, with horses going by. The current church was built on a double-lane dirt road. Both the single and double lanes form what is now bustling Queens Blvd. The bell has witnessed significant historic moments in Queens. A rare and unique history of the First Presbyterian Church of Newtown, published by Church Historian Marjorie Melikian of Rego Park, NY: http://www.fpcn.org/history/
Postcards and photo documentation by Michael Perlman, Chair of Rego-Forest Preservation Council & Queens VP of the Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance, is below and on flickr:
|Interior of the Gothic sanctuary towards the altar.|
|Looking out from the altar towards the balcony.|
|One of the church's many enriching stained glass works.|
|More stained glass beauty of the 19th century. They sure don't make 'em like they used to!|
|Spiritual scenes transcend from the artist's vision to reality.|
|An 1895 Gothic masterpiece is a one & only encounter on Queens Blvd! Visualize farmland with frame houses mere steps from this edifice 115 years ago.|
|A closer eye on the Gothic facade with stained glass overlooking Queens Blvd.|
|The charming 1931 limestone & brick Church House annex on Seabury St consists of recreational facilities, performance space, and classrooms. It is also in great need of restoration and upgrades.|