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For week ended March 19, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 17Mar00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Mormons Building Chapel And Support in N. Manhattan
New York NY Daily News 17Mar00 D1
By Juan Gonzalez

NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- The island of Manhattan will see its 2nd LDS Chapel, a newly constructed building on Riverside Drive across the street from Fort Tryon Park in upper Manhattan. The building is the first constructed by the Church in more than 25 years, and represents the growth of the Church here. The Daily News' Juan Gonzalez, who doesn't suffer fools lightly, calls the new chapel "a marvelous new building" that is bound to be "the chief attraction in the neighborhood."

"I've been in this neighborhood 27 years and never seen anything like it," said Bob Tortorello, who runs Broadyke meat store on Broadway. The building will feature a steeple rising nearly seven stories and a facade of intricate stone and brick that set it apart from the buildings in the neighborhood, but let it manage to still look like it was planned to be part of the neighborhood.

The main chapel covers two stories, unlike most new LDS Chapels, and includes two dozen classrooms, a basketball court and a 200-seat chapel, along with other standard elements. Built to eventually be a stake center, the building also includes an underground parking garage.

"We're very pleased with how the chapel has turned out," says Richard Hedberg, a Westchester County Bishop who finds chapel sites throughout the Northeastern U.S. for the Church. The building will relieve a shortage of chapels on Manhattan, which currently has 10 wards and branches meeting in three buildings.

However, the new building won't completely resolve the need for buildings on Manhattan. Seven of the New York, New York wards and branches will still meet in the nearly 30-year-old Lincoln Center building, which was recently remodeled to include two chapels and cultural halls and accompanying classrooms, stake offices, a large family history center and offices for LDS Church Public Affairs and Employment, spread over five floors of a large LDS Church-owned building.

Gonzalez mentions that the LDS Church is returning to its roots in New York, since the LDS Church was founded in upstate New York 170 years ago. Giving some background on the LDS Church, Gonzalez wonders if maybe the "lost tribe" that traveled from Jerusalem to the Americas, as described in the Book of Mormon, could be the ancestors of the Tainos, Indians of the Dominican Republic who's blood flows in many of the immigrants that make up this part of Manhattan.

And if he is right, maybe that explains why so many have joined the Church in northern Manhattan that New York, New York Stake President Brent Belnap says the area "almost has a Utah feel to it."


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