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Old First Restoration Fund

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Old First Restoration Fund
    729 Carroll Street
    Brooklyn, NY 11215
made out to:
    "Old First Reformed Church" and note on memo line:     "Restoration Fund"

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093011 Plaster failure area over the chandelier 60 feet above the sanctuary seating.

Old First Reformed Church sanctuary ceiling damage and assessment
101411 Consultant inspecting the immediate damage.

101411 Inspectors begin their work reviewing the entire ceiling, checking its structural integrity and photographing conditions close-up.

729 Carroll St
@ 7th Av
718 638 8300
Reformed Church | Park Slope, Brooklyn

Sanctuary Closed: Ceiling Plaster Failure

On Wednesday evening, September 28, 2011, plaster suddenly fell from the ceiling of the sanctuary, causing damage to the ceiling and chandelier, which must be repaired before we can open again. We retained an architectural consultant specializing in historical structures, and also a specialized construction company with unique equipment and expertise for this kind of work. Upon their review it was determined that the damage was not localized to the chandelier area, but is a systemic failure in the attachment of the plaster ribs and crosspieces to the ceiling; after 120 years, it is failing. This is an expensive enterprise, which will cost well over a million dollars. Old First is very grateful to the Sacred Sites program at the New York Landmarks Conservancy for a grant of $7500 to help us with this assessment.

An engineering firm was hired to advise us. They developed repair options, created drawings from which we obtained bids. Because other issues were arising, we have authorized a second more thorough survey and will soon have a complete and comprehensive plan of the scope of work over and above ceiling repair.

Old First Reformed Church Brooklyn sanctuary ceiling damage assessment

Many people have asked if they can help. We are posting updates and advice on how you can support us; for one, attend and enjoy our Arts at Old First events, proceeds of which are destined for the Restoration Fund.

How the Ceiling Was Crafted

Our incredible lacunar ceiling was created circa 1890 by highly skilled craftsmen of Italian descent who also worked on some of the city's grandest office buildings. The bone structures, ribs and raised frames which surround the coffers are not carved in wood but are enormous pieces of cast plaster, molded and sculpted by these craftsmen, then raised and affixed to the wooden skeleton of the ceiling. This framework surrounds beautifully stenciled designs, layer over layer of subtle, contrasting colors in green and gold over the lighter rosy sienna base color. Other decorative plasterwork in the sanctuary includes leafy and floral motifs atop columns, arches and above our Tojetti painting.

The quality of the decorative plaster is unexcelled and is rarely seen after this time period. The gifts of 19th century artisans can be seen throughout.

The sanctuary was dedicated in September 1891. Read more.

Thank you for your love and support — Old First.
Facebook Updates / How to Make a Donation

Letter to Congregation _ September 30, 2011
News Release_ September 30, 2011

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