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Architecture of St. Mark's Church In-the-Bowery
The historic campus of St. Mark’s Church is formally oriented to face true South (skewed from the City's grid), reflecting the original rural lane that once crossed in front of it and is still evidenced as Stuyvesant Street across from the church. It is sited on land that was once part of Peter Stuyvesant's bouwerie (or farm) and covers the exact spot of his "Bowerie Chapel", making St. Mark's the oldest site of continual worship in New York City.
Entering the campus, visitors pass through the gates of the iron fence – also one of the oldest in the city – that surrounds the whole site. Crossing into the yards on either side of the church – passing busts of Peter Stuyvesant in the East Yard and Daniel D. Tompkins (Governor of New York and Vice President under James Monroe) in the West Yard – one walks along undulating surfaces that sit carefully atop the cemetery vaults.
Within this landscape are placed three buildings: the south-facing Sanctuary, the Parish Hall behind it, and the Rectory to the west of the Parish Hall. The sanctuary, a late Georgian church with additions in a classical vocabulary was consecrated on May 9, 1799. The Rectory is now home to the adaptive re-use project, the Neighborhood Preservation Center.
The overall campus is a harmonized mix of architectural styles that perfectly suits this very active, living site. Within its confines, visitors experience a truly rare thing – a strong sense of the history of New York and the United States embodied within a vibrant and thoroughly modern environment.
Rendering by The Edelman Partnership, now Edelman Sultan Knox Wood/Architects, c.1970