Department of Buildings Looking Into ComplaintsBy Al Jones

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Love thy neighbor? Not necessarily if you live in one Upper West Side neighborhood.

Residents who live near the Redeemer Presbyterian Church at 150 W. 83rd St., aren’t counting their blessings when it comes to location.

The strife is over the fact that church leaders are converting an old parking garage into a community worship center, which residents of a nearby 75 unit co-op say is causing an unholy mess.

1010 WINS’ Al Jones talks to annoyed residents

While they were initially fine with the church’s plans, residents said they were soon caught off guard.

“When we saw the steel beams going up…we were all shocked and surprised,” Nina Teicholz said. “Fifteen feet from my window I’m looking into a giant terrace, a huge brick wall with a giant opening into a vast party space.”

In addition to the height of the structure, a large terrace is being built that almost extends into Robin Landau’s bedroom. She believes residents were misled by the church and what was going to be built at the location.

“We thought that they were going to put a single story there and that… actually we had no idea as to the extent of the size of the terrace,” she said.

Landau told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones, “Had they been more upfront with us…maybe we would have fought it from the beginning.”

According to reports, Redeemer submitted plans to the Department of Buildings to add a 16-foot sound wall to block noise generated by its rooftop air-conditioning unit, bringing the building’s total height to 86 feet — making it roughly a 10-story building in the middle of the block.

Neighbors have been so vocal that the Department of Buildings is looking into their complaints.

The $52.5 million building is slated to open in 2012 and will have a sanctuary, classrooms, an auditorium and fellowship hall for large gatherings.

The massive structure is part of Redeemer’s 10-year, $20 million expansion campaign, which aims to “serve local neighborhoods with ministries of mercy and outreach,” according to Redeemer’s website.

Should the church be allowed to build such a massive structure? Are neighbors making much ado about nothing? Share your comments below.

Comments (19)
  1. ex employee says:

    Hey Todd, have you ever heard of freedom of speech? No libel here, Redeemer has treated many people badly.

  2. Todd says:

    I completely agree with Stephen Chan. This is a certainly not an “uproar.”

    As for the vitriol against the church itself, have you people ever heard of libel? Think twice before spewing your hate online. You are not anonymous.

  3. mu says:

    I am surprised that anyone would complain about a high building in NYC of all places, the epicenter of tall buildings.

  4. TheCity says:

    This is NYC, GET OVER IT. You cannot expect to live in the City and not be looking directly at another building. Move to Cooperstown for your Field of Dreams.

  5. ex employee says:

    Redeemer will try to roll over anyone or anything that gets in the way of their growth and power. Do not underestimate them. They will cast aside employees, family members or anyone else that isn’t in line with their plans for expansion and creating a mega church. They don’t care who they hurt because “it’s all being done in Jesus’ name”

  6. Hannibal Silver says:

    Each point of view is a view of a point. I bring to table talk the inherent bias of all human beings. I am not a church member or employee, although I have been both. I did not leave the church in good terms. However, my counseling lenses and my commitment to justice have not erased from my mind my eyewitness account and conviction that Redeemer Church is good for the city. The church is an amplification of her leadership; they are good and decent people with a great vision for New York. There is nothing cultish or extreme about their well known views. After hundreds of sessions with their leaders and members (working from a family system standpoint), I came to the simple conclusion; this is a true and good church whose growth will enrich different belief systems. Redeemer is primarily a healthy movement, not a sectarian, bigoted, secretive or fundamentalist church.

  7. What They Don't Want You To Know says:

    The neighbors are right to be concerned, and those who do or will attend should as well. Beneath the veil of a sanctuary and fellowship are reports within the church of what church-goers and believers would consider sexual impropriety between lay leaders and by them towards members and attendees. If you are seeking what they claim, you should be warned about what you will really find going on there. I wouldn’t want it going on under my nose in my neighborhood.

    1. Hannibal Silver says:

      Sexual impropriety is hard to prove. Redeemer leadership should not be held accountable for what people do in their privacy. The church does nothing to encourage sexual impropriety, on the contrary, it does everything to encourage sexual wholeness and intimacy. The neighbors and church leaders should find common ground regarding this building. As the Talmud states “Life is too short, let us move slowly”. We are in need of light in New York City.

  8. Former Redeemerite says:

    No they shouldn’t. The structure is proportional to their egos. They claim to want to serve local neighborhoods with ministries of mercy and outreach, but the reality is they are not in the position to teach anyone. A decade of experience with this “church” has it’s become clear that their humble claims are nothing more than self-righteous hypocrisy. All that glitters is not gold.

  9. Stephen Chan says:

    This is an “uproar?” A few, maybe 5-8 max residents, who live on the top of an apartment building who are getting their views blocked are a little upset and so they go to the media to complain.

    Come on. This isn’t news. It’s New York. They are whining about a church for goodness sake! Where weddings and community events for their area will probably be held.

    This may sell advertisements, but it isn’t good news. An uproar for me is at least 10 people being upset…Give me a break.

  10. Hannibal Silver says:

    Although not a church member, I never heard of any funeral sponsored by Redeemer. In my limited judgment, he church has been compared to aliens in a spaceship (the building). I wish the best to both parties through mutual understanding based on facts not impressions about them.

  11. Former Redeemer Employee says:

    Redeemer treats their employees in the same way they are treating the neighbors. This is very sad.

  12. UWSRES says:

    There is always building going on in this city, and people are never happy with it. It’s the price of living in NYC. At least these people are building a church that will presumably serve the community as opposed to another awful condo high rise no one can afford to live in.

  13. joe says:

    They did submit to the community board. I was at the hearing and there were no objections. In fact they built the sound wall at the request of the residents!! No one is ever happy in new york. 🙂

  14. None of Your Business says:

    Redeemer Presbyterian has no right whatsoever to construct that ridiculous building, party hall, whatever they’re calling the thing, that will interfere with surrounding residents’ right to quiet and peaceful enjoyment of their apartments. Make the church tear it down and forbid the church from constructing anything else in its place.

  15. Resident says:

    There was no opportunity for public comment. The plans were never submitted to the community board.

  16. Resident says:

    DOB approved the plans, and they never came before the community board for public comment, so there was no chance to have any input. The garage did not smell bad. And it was quiet. And was preferable to looking out at a 20′-high addition housing a space that will hold weddings, funerals, etc for 200+ people.

  17. Wolf says:

    Where were your complaints when the applications were being processed? Public hearing period is long overwith. If you didn’t know what you were reading you should have asked. Maybe you preferred the car garage with it’s foul odors and carbon monoxide poisoning.

    1. Rodin says:

      Did you read the article? It’s short enough even for you to be able to read the whole thing. Did you get past the headline?

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