West Side Presbyterian Church Sanctuary and Organ


The West Side Presbyterian Church Nichols & Simpson organ is a visual focal point for the worship life of the church – both in music and design. Here are some facts about the organ and sanctuary:

  • Construction of the West Side Sanctuary and selection of materials ensured exceptional sound by instrument and voice. The space has been herald by professional musicians as among the best venues in the metropolitan New York area.
  • Since the organ would be a visual focal point for the worship life of the church, the organ case (visible pipes) was designed by Herbert S. Newman Architects to be a natural visual extension of the award-winning sanctuary interior. The striking visual effect called for innovative construction techniques in making the facade pipes, engineered by Frank Friemel and manufactured by A.R. Schopp's Sons.
  • The "palm fronds" metal support bars seen in the Good Shepherd stained glass window was carried through in the design of the organ case, reminding visitors of Palm Sunday.
  • The organ console is beautifully constructed of ribbon-stripe mahogany and has bone natural keys with rosewood sharps, rosewood expression and crescendo shoes, rosewood drawknobs with bone faces, rosewood thumb pistons with bone faces, and bone tilting table couplers.
  • The sanctuary features a variety of stone and wood. Onyx from Italy, travertine from Turkey, Jerusalem stone (limestone) from Israel, and four types of wood: Douglas fir, maple, cherry, and mahogany.
  • The Steinway Concert Grand Piano, 9-foot Model D, produces a warm sound that enriches our worship services as well as offering concert pianists a fine instrument, enabling them to fill the space with their artistry.

West Side Presbyterian Church has received numerous design awards, most recently Faith and Form’s 2014 Religious Art & Architecture Award. "A high ceiling, curved walls, stained glass windows or lush landscaping – no two windows are alike, and yet each offers viewers a fresh way of interacting with the divine." The award celebrates architecture that demonstrates the ways religious structures must adapt to declining attendance in mainstream religions. Even with this contemporary challenge, the tradition of religious architecture goes back millennia.