Living on a Prayer

361 CPW is a forbidding stone monolith on the corner of 96th Street just across from the park, anchoring blocks of stately condo buildings, the kind that come with individual names on their entrance awnings and multiple doormen. It was designed in 1889 by the firm Carrere Hastings, who were assigned the project just after they won another commission to design the main branch of the New York Public Library. Photographs of the interior just after it was built show a grand space cut with barrel vaults and covered in Art Nouveau filigree. An enormous organ rises above the altar, below the words, “God is love and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him.” The church was landmarked by the city in 1974. According to the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s original notice, the building “is indicative of the freedom of design achieved by the best

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