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231 East 22nd Street, Suite 23 New York NY 10010

Fax: +88 (0) 202 0000 001

Central Presbyterian Church

Location: Park Avenue and East 64th Streets, New York, NY

Landmark Status: Upper East Side Historic District

Original Architect: Henry C. Peyton with Allen & Collens

Date of Construction: 1920-1922

Date of Restoration: 2017-2020

Scope of Work: Stone Cleaning & Restoration, Bell Tower Restoration, Stucco Restoration, Stained Glass Restoration

Awards: Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award (New York Landmarks Conservancy), Excellence in Historic Preservation Award (Preservation League of New York State), Good Steward Award (Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts), Stanford White Historic Preservation Award (Institute of Classical Architecture & Art)



Central Presbyterian Church was designed by architect Henry C. Pelton in association with Allen & Collens and constructed 1920-22. Originally known as Park Avenue Baptist Church, it was commissioned by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. The neo-Gothic exterior is cleverly arranged to appear as one large church, with seven levels of classrooms and offices above and below the sanctuary. It is constructed of rock-face granite ashlar and limestone trim over a steel frame, stucco and brick at the secondary facades, and leaded-glass windows designed by Henry Wynd Young. A carillon of 53 bells was installed in 1925 but later moved by Rockefeller to Riverside Church. The present congregation moved into the building in 1929.


Despite the high-quality of the original materials and craftmanship, natural weathering took its toll on the church. Almost 100 years after its construction, the congregation embarked on a restoration project. Walter B. Melvin Architects, LLC was retained as restoration architect, West New York Restoration as masonry contractor, Femenella & Associates as stained glass contractor, and Fonderie Paccard as the foundry for bell casting, along with other sub-consultants and sub-contractors to round out the team.


What began as a triage approach to repairs ultimately became a comprehensive restoration effort. The darkened stone facades were cleaned with water and a soft micro-abrasive. The limestone bell tower was completely disassembled from the steel frame and reconstructed with improved detailing. Deteriorated stones throughout were repaired or replaced in-kind (carved off-site or in-situ). The existing stucco at the secondary facades was removed and the original effect was replicated to mimic the natural granite and limestone at the primary facades. All of the stained-glass windows were removed, completely restored with new lead, and re-installed. The three sets of wood entry doors were restored. Roofing at the set-back and main roofs was replaced. Long quiet, a new carillon with 50 bronze bells cast in France was installed at the restored bell tower.


The project began in fall 2017, paused during the pandemic, and was substantially completed in fall 2020.

Sergio De Orbeta


Sergio De Orbeta

With over 19 years of experience in the field, Sergio has been instrumental in the successful restoration, repair, and continued maintenance of numerous historic structures in New York City and beyond.  13 of those years have been at WBMA, where he has taken a detailed and methodical approach to his projects. Some of his noteworthy ongoing projects include Casa Italiana, Columbia University; The Osborne; 100 Hudson Street; 525 Park Avenue; 130 East End Avenue; and 300 West 108th Street.  Previous award-winning projects include 131 Duane Steet – the Hope Building, 451 Broome Street, Donald Judd Home & Studio, and Marymount School of New York.  He is a Registered Architect in the States of New York and New Jersey. Originally from Puerto Rico, Sergio received his Master of Science in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania and Bachelor of Architecture with a Minor in Architectural History from Carnegie Mellon University.



University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Master of Science in Historic Preservation

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
Bachelor of Architecture
Minor in Architectural History

Professional Registration

Registered Architect in the States of New York and New Jersey

Martin Lee Griggs, RA

Martin Lee Griggs

Martin has worked in the architecture and construction industry for over 30 years, including 26 years at WBMA specializing in the assessment and repair of exterior envelopes. He has overseen several award-winning restoration projects including St. Paul’s Chapel – Columbia University, 451 Broome Street, Liberty Tower and Alwyn Court, as well as restoration projects at Louis Sullivan’s Bayard-Condict Building, the Cosmopolitan Club, several City parks and residential cooperatives. Martin is well versed in the myriad building materials that have been used in the northeast and has extensive experience assessing and restoring a variety of masonry and roofing systems. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California and is a Registered Architect in New York State.

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Bachelor of Architecture

Professional Registration
Registered Architect in the State of New York

Robert C. Bates


Robert C. Bates

With 35 years of professional experience at WBMA, Robert has overseen restoration projects at many of New York City’s premier institutions, including The Met Cloisters, Donald Judd Home and Studio, Green-Wood Cemetery and Riverside Church, as well as McKim Mead and White’s 998 Fifth Avenue and William Tuthill’s Schinasi Mansion at 351 Riverside Drive. A graduate of Lehigh University, Robert is a Registered Architect in the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as a member of the American Institute of Architects. He has a strong understanding of traditional building materials and has developed many new restoration techniques over the years. Robert has published articles on waterproofing of historic masonry walls, restoration of cast iron, and roofing replacement.



Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
Bachelor of Art in Architecture

Professional Registration

Registered Architect in the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut