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First Reformed Church

159-29 90th Avenue
Jamaica (Queens), N.Y. 11432
http://www.frcj.org/


Organ Specifications:
159-29 90th Avenue (since 1984)
II/18 Wicks Organ Company, Op. 3150 (1950)
153-10 Jamaica Avenue at 153rd Street (1716-1980s)
Third building (1858-1980s)
• Henry Erben (1859)
Second building (1833-burned 1857)
• unknown
First building (1716-1833)
• unknown
Jamaica Avenue at about 162nd Street (1702-1716)
• unknown, if any


First Reformed Dutch Church - Jamaica, N.Y. (1716-1833)  
First church (1716- 1833)  
First Reformed Dutch Church - Jamaica, N.Y. (1859-1980)  
Third church (1859-1980)  
The First Reformed Dutch Church of Jamaica was established in 1702 for Dutch merchants who settled near Jamaica. An octagonal-shaped building with a steeply-pitched roof topped by a cupola and weathervane was erected in 1716. Church history places the original building at about Jamaica Avenue and 162nd Street.

  First Reformed Dutch Church - Jamaica, N.Y. (1833-1857)
  Second church (1833-1857)
In 1833, the congregation relocated to Jamaica Avenue and 153rd Street where the second church was built. The Georgian-style building included a tower that was topped by a cupola and weathervane. This church building burned In 1857.

The third church was built from 1858-59 on the same site. Designed and constructed by master carpenter Sidney J. Young (a member of the congregation), with the assistance of master mason Anders Peterson, the building with its asymmetrical towers, round-arched openings, and corbel tables shows a sophisticated use of brickwork and reflects the growing popularity and influence of the architectural style known as "Rundbogenstil." Young visited other local churches for inspiration, possibly including the Church of the Pilgrims and South Congregational in Brooklyn. His creation was regarded as one of the finest Early Romanesque Revival churches in New York. A plaque at its entrance notes that it was ''dedicated to the worship of the triune God October 6th 1859.'' This building served the church for more than a century, but by the 1960s downtown Jamaica began a long period of decline. This building was designated in 1966 by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, and in 1980 was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The old church fell into disrepair was ultimately condemned as part of an urban renewal project. The congregation moved out in the mid-1980s and, after a few years in a temporary base, the settled into its present home at 159-29 90th Avenue.

The old church building on Jamaica Avenue was acquired and rehabilitated for use as the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning.
           
Wicks Organ Company
Highland, Ill. – Opus 3938 (1950)
Electro-pneumatic action
2 manuals, 27 stops, 18 ranks


This organ was originally built in 1950 for the Cornerstone Church in Jersey City, N.J. It was moved to First Reformed Church sometime in the 1980s. Following are the original 1950 specifications, although the organ may have been altered since its reinstallation in Jamaica.
               
Great Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, unenclosed
16
  Gemshorn * [ext., 1-12 encl.]
12
4
  Octave
61
8
  Open Diapason
61
4
  Flute
61
8
  Melodia
61
    Mixture III ranks
183
8
  Gemshorn
61
8
  Trumpet
61
8
  Dulciana
61
    Tremolo  
 
     
 
     
Swell Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Rohr Gedeckt * [ext., 1-12 exp.]
12
4
  Harmonic Flute
61
8
  Geigen Diapason
61
2 2/3
  Nazard [Harm. Fl.]
8
  Rohr Flute
61
2
  Harmonic Piccolo [from 4']
8
  Salicional
61
8
  Oboe
61
8
  Vox Celeste [TC]
49
    Tremolo  
8
  Aeoline
61
       
               
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
16
  Double Diapason [ext. GT]
12
8
  Octave
GT
16
  Bourdon
32
8
  Bourdon [ext.]
12
16
  Rohr Gedeckt
SW
8
  Flauto Dolce
SW
16
  Gemshorn
GT
8
  Trumpet
GT
               
Couplers
    Swell to Pedal 8', 4'   Swell to Swell 16', 4'
    Great to Pedal 8', 4'   Great to Great 16', 4'
    Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'    
           
Organ in 1859 church at 153-10 Jamaica Avenue:

Henry Erben
New York City (1859)
Mechanical action


Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
           
Sources:
     Dolkart, Andrew S. and Matthew A. Postal. Guide to New York City Landmarks (Third Edition). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2004.
     Dunlap, David W. "Change at Jamaica," The New York Times (Dec. 20, 2007).
     First Reformed Church of Jamaica web site: http://www.frcj.org/
     History of Queens County, New York, with Illustrations, Portraits & Sketches. New York: W.W. Munsell & Co., 1882.
     Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning web site: http://www.jcal.org
     Lemire, Jonathan. "Church Seeks Revival as it Marks 300 Years," The New York Daily News (May 30, 2002).
     National Register of Historic Places web site: http://www.nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com
     Trupiano, Larry. Specifications for Wicks organ, Op. 3938 (1950).

Illustrations:
     First Reformed Church of Jamaica web site. Exterior of present church.
     History of Queens County, New York, with Illustrations, Portraits & Sketches. Engravings of churches built in 1716, 1833 and 1859.