8: The Riverside Church and the Interchurch Center

riverside photo mission

Exiting from General Grant’s tomb, you cannot miss the Riverside Church, located on Riverside Drive and 120th Street where Harlem and the Upper West Side meet. Riverside Church is located right next to Sakura Park, and across the street from the Riverside Park entrance you used to look around General Grant’s Tomb.

Riverside Church

You can’t help but admire the Church’s famous large size and elaborate Neo-Gothic architecture. But the church has a social justice history that extends beyond its beauty. The church is two blocks south of Grant’s tomb and was the site of Jackie Robinson’s funeral service in 1972. It was described by The New York Times in 2008 as “a stronghold of activism and political debate throughout its 75-year history … influential on the nation’s religious and political landscapes.” It has been a focal point of global and national activism since its inception.

The Church commits itself to welcoming all persons, celebrating the diversity found in a Congregation broadly inclusive of persons from different backgrounds of characteristics, including race, economic class, religion, culture, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, family status and physical and mental abilities. Members are called to an individual and collective quality of life that leads to personal, spiritual and social transformation, witnessing to God’s saving purposes for all creation. The Church pledges itself to education, reflection, and action for peace and justice and the realization of the vision of the heavenly banquet where all are loved and blessed.

You will find more religious roots on this stop of the tour by walking south along Riverside Drive to between West 119th and West 120th Street.

The Interchurch Center

The Interchurch Center is a 19-story limestone-clad office building located at 475 Riverside Drive that houses offices and agencies of various religions, and of ecumenical and interreligious organizations.

On your visit, be sure to stop by the Center’s Treasure Room Gallery, located in the southwest corner of the main floor, to view professional exhibitions of visual arts. Open from 9 am to 5 pm, the gallery features paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, textiles, and photographs.

A stroll through the north and south side of the corridors of the main floor will reveal twenty well lit display windows which continue the visitor’s viewing pleasure of creative talents. Once a month from 4 to 7 p.m. one can attend the artists’ reception to meet and greet the featured exhibitors. The Center offers noonday concerts, free and open to the public, on Wednesdays as well. Make sure to pick up an informative brochure which lists and highlights the works in the exhibition and the artist or group featured.

The Interchurch Center
475 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10027
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Riverside Church
490 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10027
Hours: Open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
For special tour information on weekdays and Sundays, please see http://www.theriversidechurchny.org/about/?tours