The First Hungarian (Magyar) Reformed Church

346 East 69th Street
Emery Roth, 1916
National Register of Historic Places

This striking, yellow stucco church building was designed in a Hungarian vernacular style by prominent New York City architect Emery Roth—himself a Hungarian immigrant—for the First Hungarian Reformed Church, whose congregation was originally located on the Lower East Side. This is the only Christian religious building that Roth designed during his long and successful career. The style of the building, which features a two-story structure, 80-foot central tower, red shingle roof and terra cotta and tile ornament, evokes countryside churches found in Central Europe. The building served as an important gathering place for the Hungarian immigrant community, whose arrival in New York City swelled between 1890 and 1910. Around 1913, many Hungarians migrated to Yorkville seeking employment at Ehret’s and Ruppert’s Breweries, and East 79th Street became known as “Hungarian Boulevard.” In order to continue serving its congregants, the First Hungarian Reformed Church purchased three rowhouses on East 69th Street, two of which were demolished to construct the church and the other turned into a parsonage. Above the church doorway is a tripartite stained glass transom window featuring a bird motif, which is likely the Turul bird, an important bird in the origin myth of the Hungarian people.