Our building holds a distinct place in New York City’s architectural history.
Built in 1910 on Central Park West, it has been landmarked by the City of New York and is on the State and National Registers of Historic Places as part of the Central Park West Historic District.
The building was designed by architect Robert D. Kohn who was considered a pioneer in his use of Art Nouveau style for the building. Kohn also had a personal stake in the design of the building, as he was on the Board of the Society and had been a lifelong member.
In its recommendation for Landmark status, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission stated that,
“…the New York Society for Ethical Culture has a special character, special historical and aesthetic interest and value as part of the development, heritage and cultural characteristics of New York City…and that it is both a tangible symbol of the Society’s permanent social contribution and a rich architectural element of the fabric of our City.”
Offering breathtaking views of Central Park and elegant, well-appointed spaces, the New York Society for Ethical Culture is the perfect venue for your upcoming special event. Our beautiful, century-old building retains its historic charm while providing guests with the very best in modern services. Our facilities can accommodate a wide variety of gatherings, and Ethical Culture’s leaders are available to officiate at any type of occasion, including weddings and memorials.
Whether you are planning an intimate cocktail reception for twenty or a full-scale musical performance for eight hundred, NYSEC will meet your needs and exceed your expectations. We have the right space – at the right price – for you. Come and see why we are one of New York City’s best-kept secrets.
The Concert Hall/Auditorium
- 812 Seat Theater
- 27 x 47 Main Stage
- Rogers Digital Organ
- Steinway B Grand Piano
- 16 x16 Projector Screen
- Green Room
- Box Office
- Seats 150 Theater; 120 Banquet
- 35 x 44 Floor Plan
- Adjacent Outdoor Patio (accommodates 75 guests)
- Stained Glass Windows
- Steinway A Grand Piano
- Seats 60 Theater; 40 Banquet
- 19 x 29 Floor Plan
- Panoramic View of Central Park
- Knabe Upright Piano
- Seats 60 Theater; 40 Banquet
- 19 x 28 Floor Plan
- Steinway Upright Piano
- Seats 285 Theater; 240 Banquet
- 50 x 65 Floor Plan
- Steinway A Grand Piano
Life Passage Ceremonies
Every significant stage of life is marked by a ceremony. At Ethical NYC, we see this on a daily basis. Whether it’s a bris, a bar- or bat-mitvah, a birthday party, anniversary, or a memorial, we recognize and understand the personal significance of each. The versatility of our spaces makes NYSEC a perfect venue for any life passage ceremony. Adler Study and Elliott Library are elegant rooms suited for more intimate gatherings. Ceremonial Hall welcomes up to 150 guests. Our famed Concert Hall has hosted various life passage events for several hundred people. Social Hall, with its open floor plan, is highly functional.
For those interested in marking important life passages, the Ethical Culture Society has Leaders and officiants available to preside and help you plan personal and meaningful occasions. For more information contact Maggie Determann in the Leaders’ Office.
For inquiries about hosting and planning a ceremony, please contact Rentals Manager Marie Orraca.
Our weddings are creative, respecting the individuality of each member of the couple, as well as the ethical commitment of the union. Shared values are the foundation of an Ethical Culture wedding. We specialize in customized ceremonies for couples of different religious backgrounds and genders, no particular religious connection, and others who want a non-traditional, humanistic, spiritual ceremony. Ethical Culture Leaders and officiants are authorized under the New York State law to perform weddings
Officiants are available upon request.
Celebrate your nuptials with style. Cherish them for a lifetime. Elegance. Sophistication. Old-world New York charm.These are the hallmarks of a wedding reception at the New York Society for Ethical Culture. Located in the heart of Manhattan, we offer couples a unique opportunity to experience the best in service and hospitality. Some prefer simple ceremonies. Others prefer elaborate events. Fortunately, Ethical NYC can provide you with both.
With its beautiful woodwork, stained glass windows, and breathtaking view of Central Park, our Ceremonial Hall is a prime choice for your special day. Here, guests can enjoy the exquisiteness of the space or gather on the outdoor patio for cocktails and conversation. Natural light and high ceilings accentuate the aesthetic appeal of the Hall, making for a truly memorable occasion.
For a more intimate gathering, the Adler Study offers equally impressive skyline views coupled with a warm and classic atmosphere. Enjoy your reception in a beautiful space that will make you and your guests feel at home.
Your own catering and floral options are welcome, but NYSEC works with several excellent caterers and florists that have garnered high praise from our clientele.
Officiants are also available upon request.
Contact Rentals Manager Marie Orraca to learn more.
Baby Naming and Welcoming
These ceremonies recognize the joy and commitment of parenting. By introducing the child formally to family, friends, and community, the ceremony recognizes the child as a person of worth, dignity, and uniqueness. For new parents, this may also be the first step of a formal commitment to their child’s ethical development. Parents meet with a leader or officiant to create the ceremony, which can be private or interwoven with the Sunday Meeting.
Coming of Age Ceremonies
The Ethical Culture community strives to support adolescents in this most formative period of their lives. The ceremony may be connected to the Ethics for Children Sunday School program, or it may be an individual marking of this life passage with family and friends. A Leader and the child meet with parents, a mentor and other family members to fashion a ceremony unique to the individual.
Funerals and Memorial Services
At the time of death, the primary concern is to help the bereaved reach beyond the loss to an affirmation of life. The memorial service is planned by family and friends with an Ethical Culture Leader or officiant. It is designed to commemorate and celebrate the life of the deceased, to help the bereaved accept the pain and loss, and to offer support and comfort. This service often becomes a celebration of an individual’s life – a time to share memories, a time to focus on the impact they made on others, and a time to acknowledge finality without despair.
From corporate training sessions and seminars to large-scale conferences, NYSEC has a space for you. The Concert Hall, known primarily for its grandeur and superb acoustics, can accommodate 800 and comes with a 16 x 16 screen, which makes any presentation smart and accessible. Adler Study and Elliott Library often serve as “breakout” rooms for smaller meetings or lunches. For mid-size meetings, Ceremonial Hall may be the right choice.
Film and TV Shoots
NYSEC has been featured in several major motion pictures and television shows – and for all of the obvious reasons. A landmark building overlooking Central Park West. Impressive spaces that are known for their beauty and versatility. In many ways, coming to NYSEC is like stepping back in time to the gilded age of turn-of-the-century Manhattan. Glance out of our stained-glass windows, however, and you are immediately transported to present-day New York, with its jagged skyline buffeted by the treetops of Central Park. We encourage location scouts – as well as producers and production development professionals – to tour our grand facility.