By Kent Larsen
New York Books See Mormons in the City
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- The Mormon presence in New York City is
prominent in two new books on religion in the city. The most
significant of the two is a chapter in the academically-oriented book
"New York Glory: Religions in the City" part of the Religion, Race
and Ethnicity Series from New York University Press. The second book,
"Glory in Gotham" is a neighborhood guide to the architecture of more
than 100 churches in New York City, including the LDS Church's
recently constructed chapel in Manhattan's Inwood neighborhood.
The chapter in "New York Glory" was written by local LDS author James
Lucas, who wrote "Working Toward Zion" with BYU professor Warner
Woodruff. Lucas covers the state of the LDS Church in New York City,
discovering that the Church here has about 20,000 members spread over
six stakes and districts,including some 50 wards and branches.
Lucas says that the majority of church members in the city are
Hispanic, most of whom speak Spanish. Other foreign-language
congregations exist for Chinese and Korean speakers, as well as for
American Sign Language. Lucas also indicates that the Mormon
population of the city is growing, more than doubling in size from
its two stakes in 1985.
But Lucas' chapter goes beyond demographics, also discussing how and
where LDS Church members in New York City worship and giving some
background information on the Church here. The chapter also discusses
the challenges that the diverse population presents to local leaders.
The mention of the Inwood building in "Glory in Gotham," written by
New York Times architectural reporter David Dunlap, is typical for
this architectural guide, brief and descriptive of where the building
is located and what it looks like. But it is also a testament to the
LDS Church's permanence in the city. The Inwood building, dedicated
just one year ago, has pleased observers and local members both
because it looks like a church and because it matches the
neighborhood so well.
The other LDS Church-owned building in New York City, located at
Lincoln Square across from the world-famous Lincoln Center for the
Performing Arts, got a much smaller mention in "Glory in Gotham,"
merely a footnote. That brevity may be due to the office
building-like appearance of the meetinghouse and its adjacent
apartment tower. Still, even this building is somewhat unique in
space-starved New York. It now includes two chapels and accompanying
classrooms, and currently houses eight wards and branches.
Unfortunately, "Glory in Gotham" mostly lists buildings on Manhattan,
so it misses at least two notable LDS buildings in the city. The
first LDS Church-owned building in the city, dating to 1918, is
located in Brooklyn, where it once housed what was then the Brooklyn
branch and its adjacent house served as the Eastern States Mission
home. That chapel and home were sold by the LDS Church in the 1960s.
The second building is the former Bullova Watchmaking School,
purchased recently by the LDS Church.
More about Dvid Dunlap and Joe Vecchione's "Glory in Gotham" at Amazon.com
More about "New York Glory: Religions in the City" at Amazon.com
More about "Working Toward Zion: Principles of the United Order for the Modern World" by James W. Lucas, Warner P. Woodworth at Amazon.com