Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo Work to Save Historic New York Church

Photo from Oppenheimer Movie’s Instagram

Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo Work to Save Historic New York Church

By Movieguide® Contributor

Actors Matt Damon and Mark Ruffalo have joined a campaign to raise money to save West Park Presbyterian Church in New York City, which is in danger of demolition due to a $2 million repair the congregation cannot afford.

Developers want to tear the church down to make way for a $30 million luxury condominium, while community members want the church to stay to keep the neighborhood unique. The church building is also home to a performing arts center, which has served as a cultural hub for the community.

According to The New York Times, the church was designated as a New York City Landmark in 2010 against the congregation’s wishes. Church leaders filed for a hardship application in 2022 to de-landmark the building and allow it to be torn down. The new $30 million condominium would include a place of worship for the church body.

However, other community members want to protect the neighborhood’s landmark and transform it into a multi-use facility, such as a daycare, to raise the funds necessary to preserve the building.

Damon and Ruffalo, along with Wendell Pierce, Amy Schumer and rapper Common, have voiced their support for the building. The actors are both appearing in a performance of the play “This is Our Youth” later this month to benefit the church.

“I explained the situation to [Damon], and immediately he said, ‘I’m in,’ which is what I thought he would say if he was available,” the play’s writer, Kenneth Lonergan, told The New York Times. “And as a matter of fact, he had an apartment one block away from the church for a year or two, maybe. This is going back a ways.”

Damon told Lonergan that he wants to appear in the play to help “keep what’s special about the neighborhood special.”

The performances will take place on Nov. 17 and 18, with tickets for the first day starting at $500 and decreasing to $250 for the second day.

Movieguide® previously reported on Damon:

On the first episode of the “Strike Force Five” podcast, Jimmy Kimmel revealed that actors Ben Affleck and Matt Damon offered to pay his staff during the writers’ and actors’ strikes.

“Ben Affleck and the despicable Matt Damon contacted me and offered to pay our staff for two weeks,” Kimmel said, referencing the phony feud he shares with Damon. “A week each, they wanted to pay out of their own pockets our staff.”

While Kimmel appreciated the extremely generous offer, the late-night host decided to turn it down, not wanting the actors to shoulder the costs of the studios’ unwillingness to make a deal.

“I did say no, but I felt that that was not their responsibility,” he said.

“They’re good people,” Jimmy Fallon said.

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