Wedged in between the WIRE buildings is another island landmark: the Chapel of the Good Shepherd. Built in 1889 by English architect Frederick Clarke Withers (the same Withers responsible for Jefferson Market Courthouse), the chapel seated 400 worshipers from the nearby almshouses, while the lower level  was the island's first library. 

        When the almshouses were demolished and the two new hospital complexes built their own chapels, the gothic revival structure fell into disuse. It was only in 1970 that Georgio Cavaglieri, who had already completed the restoration of Jefferson Market Courthouse in the West Village, selected the chapel to be one of  6 structures to be saved and restored under the Johnson Burgee development plan. 

    The Chapel was reopened in 1975 as the Chapel of the Good Shepherd Ecumenical Community Center, which it is still used for today. The slate roof of this chapel was also restored in the last few years.  It is one of two slate roofs on the Island.  The Good Shepherd Plaza that surrounds the chapel is a perfect place to relax and read, as it is  almost directly across from the NYPL. In case you didn’t know, you can take out a book at the Island's branch and return it at any Manhattan, Staten Island, or Bronx branch; so don't be afraid to take a little bit of Roosevelt Island with you!

   Check out the Chapel of the Good Shepherd's New York City Landmark Designation here to see why it's so special.

North Tour Stop 6: Chapel


Chapel of the Good Shepherd

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Roosevelt Island Historical Tourindex.html

Marena Wisniewski

New York Landmarks Conservancy

Jacob A. Riis, Archived at MCNY