Children’s Museum Plans to Move Into Historic Church Building on Central Park West on West Side Rag


by West Sider

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan has outgrown its home at 212 West 83rd Street, and it’s now making a bold move, relocating to a former church on 96th Street and Central Park West. Property records filed with the city on Tuesday showed that the museum has purchased the building for $45 million, according to The Real Deal.

In a statement to The Real Deal, the museum’s executive director, Andrew Ackerman, said the museum was at capacity at its 83rd Street location and had been actively looking for a new one.

“We look forward to discussing our vision with the community in more detail in the coming weeks, as we begin the formal planning and design process to reactivate the building into a world-class children’s museum for families to visit, explore, and feel part of our great city,” he said, suggesting that the new facility the museum is planning will preserve elements of the existing church.

The church, once the home of the the First Church of Christ, Scientist, was slated to be turned into condos. The developers even received approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to start work. But the Board of Standards and Appeals, a city board that hears zoning appeals, rejected the plan in 2016.

The Children’s Museum had been negotiating to move to a space on the Lower East Side, but that fell apart, setting the stage for the new plans. The museum may still have to deal with some of the same hurdles that the developers faced. A letter from the Children’s Museum to members says they expect the new building to be ready by 2021. “The new building will allow CMOM to more than double its size!  It also keeps us on the Upper West Side, is easily accessible by public transportation, and saves an architectural gem for joyous public use.”

The church, built in 1903, has already been gutted. It will invariably need considerable renovations to house a children’s museum.

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