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Morningside Heights Historic District Designated by Landmarks Commission

By Ben Fractenberg | February 21, 2017 5:03pm
 The Cathedral of St. John the Divine earned given landmark status on Tuesday.
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine earned given landmark status on Tuesday.
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DNAinfo/Stephanie Keith

MANHATTAN — More than 100 buildings in Morningside Heights, including the Cathedral of St. John The Divine, earned historic landmark status Tuesday, according to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The commission voted unanimously to approve the cathedral and 115 buildings from West 109th to 119th streets between Riverside Drive and Amsterdam Avenue. The LPC also released a 3D online map, which gives information about each building.  

“The Cathedral is among the most famous church buildings in the world and is visited by hundreds of thousands of people each year who want to experience this 125-year-old masterpiece and complex with its varied and unique architectural styles,” Commission Chairwoman Meenakshi Srinivasan said in a statement.

Construction of the 124-foot cathedral took place from 1892 to 1911, while the second phase of French Gothic design lasted from 1916 to 1941, when the nave was completed and connected with the choir, according to the LPC.

The third phase started in 1979, with work resuming on the towers on the western section that remains unfinished.

The new Morningside Heights historic district includes townhouses dating back to the late 1800s, as well as pre-war apartment buildings.

More than 60 percent of the buildings were constructed between 1900 and 1910, according to the LPC.

City Councilman Mark Levine said in a statement the area “is defined by its history more so than almost any other neighborhood” in the city.

“Its status as a bastion of public institutions dates from two centuries ago, and today Morningside Heights is home to more world-class academic, cultural, religious, and medical institutions than any neighborhood in America,” he said.

“The neighborhood’s unique architectural identity has survived remarkably intact into the 21st Century, and that must be preserved for the decades to come.”