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AFFILIATION:

POINT OF INTEREST:

Episcopal

HEAD HONCHO: The Rev. Brenda G. Husson

LOCATION, LOCATION: 71st Street and Madison Avenue

HISTORY IN THE CITY:

St. James was founded in 1810 as a summer chapel for (presumably upper-class) New York City residents who had summer homes north of what was then the city, on the banks of the East River. The first St. James’ was on East 69th Street in a quaint and simple building. It then moved in 1860 to a temporary home on East 72nd Street by James Renwick, Jr. (who designed St. Patrick’s). St. James’ grew steadily from a “summer church” as the Upper East Side’s Episcopalian population continued to grow.

Famous parishioners over the years have included the Havemeyer family and Mayor John Lindsay. In 1971, Lindsay, President Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, H.R. Haldeman and Governor Nelson Rockefeller all attended New York governor and former prosecutor and presidential candidate Thomas Dewey’s funeral there. It was open to the public too and made page one of the New York Times, which noted that “the presence of so many noted people . . . seemed to discourage ordinary citizens from entering the imposing brownstone church” though “one elderly woman in a flowing black cape and a hennaed wig askew marched up the steps” undaunted and had her “voluminous shopping bag” searched before joining the mourners.

Top to bottom: John Lindsay, Henry Kissinger, President Richard Nixon and Governor Nelson Rockefeller

ST. JAMES’ EPISCOPAL CHURCH BLUEPRINTS:

The present church opened in 1885. It was designed in Romanesque style by R.H. Robertson, who also designed the Park Row Building. Ralph Adams Cram, who was known for his Gothic Revival designs, was hired in 1924 to rebuild the church into its current size and style. The church underwent major renovations in 2001 to accommodate its growing population, improve accessibility and restore certain aspects.

Its origins and location make it one of the most prestigious parishes in the city. St. James’ is progressive and inclusive— perhaps a reflection of its patrons. The parish sponsored Carol Anderson in 1977, who was ordained and became the first female priest in the Episcopal Diocese of New York. Rev. Ryan Fleenor is a fellow in the church’s mentoring program and was fully supported by the church’s rector Rev. Husson, who officiated the same-sex marriage of Fleenor and partner Daniel Noble in 2012.

74 | AVENUE MAGAZINE • OCTOBER 2014

HALEY FRIEDLICH

REPUTATION:

Profile for AVENUE Magazine

AVENUE October 2014  

Founded in 1976, AVENUE is a must-read among the city’s most discerning, stylish and savvy audiences. As Manhattan’s oldest society magazine...

AVENUE October 2014  

Founded in 1976, AVENUE is a must-read among the city’s most discerning, stylish and savvy audiences. As Manhattan’s oldest society magazine...