The First New Haven National Bank building is located at One Church Street, at the corner of George Street. It is a monolithic corporate office tower, somewhat out of place with its lower neighbors but helping to bridge the gap in scale with the 23-story Knights of Columbus Tower to the south. It was built in 1960 by the Office of Douglas Orr, who was a prolific local architect in New Haven during the post war years and also worked on the nearby Community Services Building.
The moderne Knights of Columbus Printing Plant was built in 1954, a late date for a structure in that style. It is tucked away behind the New Haven Police headquarters on W. Water Street and S. Orange Street. The entrance is actually off the parking lot on Water St. In the distance above the loading dock, one can see the Knights of Columbus Headquarters, a renowned modern highrise by Roche-Dinkeloo.
Originally built for Congregation Mt Sinai Anshe Emeth, this building is now home to four different congregations. It was constructed in 1958-59 by Murphy & Horowitz, a partnership which may have been short lived as the firm was listed as Tabor & Horowitz the very next year on plans for a 16-story apartment building on the Upper East Side.
The building is situated on a sloping site on 187th Street between Bennett Avenue and Broadway. It’s somewhat of an ungainly structure; the key feature is the masonry screen that encloses the glass wall running alongside the entrance hall.
Interior images, including some of the stained glass can be seen on the Center’s rentals page. The plain facade facing Broadway also includes this metal menorah sculpture.
Here is another Edgar Tafel-designed religious structure, this one from 1969. Some of Tafel’s work, especially later buildings present an extreme modesty, almost utilitarianism, perhaps reflecting his work with low-income congregations or his interest in contextualism. The Emmanuel Presbyterian Church is located on East 6th Street between Avenues C and D. The facade is clad in brick with concrete accents and a tile band at the cornice line.
The DeWitt Reformed Church is sited on the corner of Columbia Street and Rivington Street, where Rivington dead-ends in the Baruch Houses public housing complex. It was built in 1956-57. According to the church’s website, when neighboring tenement structures came down under urban renewal and public housing construction, the original 1881 J. Cleaveland Cady-designed church was weakened and a decision was made to build a new church on the site. The architect was Edgar Tafel, an under-appreciated architect whose modest, modern interventions dot New York City. This website has featured him here, here, here and here.
Tafel liked to work in brick and this structure complements the adjacent brick public housing towers. Looking closely, one can tell many of the bricks are second-hand, recovered from previously demolished buildings. Tafel was known to prefer used brick, according to a 1958 New Yorker article written shortly after this church was completed. The wooden cross mounted in front of the stained glass window came from the NYC Mission Society’s (the organization that oversaw the building of DeWitt) upstate campground, according to David Dunlap’s guidebook, “From Abyssinian to Zion.” The side elevation along Columbia Street also has a cross delineated in contrasting brick.
Following up on our previous post, here is another building that demonstrates Voorhees Walker Foley and Smith’s later stripped-down modern style in brick. The Church of Saint Emeric on 13th Street between Avenues C and D, dates from 1949. Its placement is unique, sitting on a large lot among public housing and the enormous Con Edison power facility to the north. The back of the church can be seen in the image below behind the quonset hut.
At the other corner of the site is a school building, labeled St. Emeric School, now closed and under renovation or demolition. This structure was almost definitely designed by Voorhees Walker Foley Smith as well. There is a little mystery here as this location is given in building records as St. Mary Magdalen Church and School done by Voorhees Walker in 1945, but the signage on the school listing it as Saint Emeric looks original.
This building, on First Avenue just above 14th Street, was originally a Union Square Savings Bank. It had been vacant for several months and was recently refurbished into a Duane Reade drugstore. Duane Reade made minimal changes to the exterior, utilizing existing wall panels on the angled facade as sign boxes and covering the original exterior clock face with their logo. Otherwise the brick facade with metal accents and a simple decorative cornice remains the same. The bank was built in 1947 by Voorhees Walker Foley and Smith, architects of this now demolished building, and more well-known for their art deco towers designed by Ralph Walker.