By Carter B. Horsley
West River House at 424 West
End Avenue on the southeast corner at 81st Street was designed
by Philip Birnbaum Associates and erected by Donald Zucker.
The 21-story gray-brick building
has 236 rental apartments, many with windowed kitchens, fireplaces,
and balconies and apartments on the higher floors have 10-foot
It has a fitness center, three
racquetball courts on the penthouse level, a landscaped roof sundeck,
a 24-hour doorman, a valet, a laundry room on every floor and
It is very close to Zabar's,
the food store on Broadway as well as the 79th Street Boat Basin
in the Hudson River.
In his fine book, "From
Abyssinian to Zion: a Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship,"
which was published in 2004, David W. Dunlap provides the following
commentary about the site's former history:
"All Angels' Church. In
the community of Seneca village, in the middle of what would become
Central Park, All Angels' Episcopal parish was organized in 1846.
Its first wooden church, described by the Rev. Thomas McClure
Peters as a place 'in which white and black and all intermediate
shades worshipped harmoniously together,' was consecrated in 1849
and stood approximately on the line of West 85th Street....Property
condemnation for the new park closed this church in 1856. A new
sanctuary was opened two years later at 428 West End Avenue….In
1873, the Rev. Charles F. Hoffman was called as rector. Heir to
a large fortune, he offered to pay for the cost of a new church
on the same site....Built from 1888 to 190 and designed by Samuel
B. Snook and J. B. Snook & Sons, this Gothic building was
ingeniously oriented on a diagonal basis, creating a 140-foot-long
sanctuary on a 100-by-102-foot plot of ground. But the size of
All Angels' Church, which seated 1,200, was ultimately a liability
for a parish that had only 150 members by 1976. Services and operations
were moved into the parish house, at 251 West 80th Street....built
in 1904 to designs by Henry J. Hardenbergh, architect of the Dakota
apartments and Plaza Hotel - and the church was razed in 1979
to make way for the 21-story apartment tower, West River House."