The Dearly Beloved is set at the fictional Third Presbyterian Church in New York City. Many of its physical details do, indeed, match those of the real First Presbyterian Church in Greenwich Village: the crack down the center of its center aisle, its two side balconies, the choir stalls behind the ministers and its plainly elegant style.
First Pres, however, does not have a manse. The house in which James and Nan live is inspired by the manse attached to Grace Church in New York. It has a lovely front garden with a path that leads to the church building and—most importantly—it is Grace Church’s magnolia trees that flower every spring.
I grew up attending First Presbyterian, but in recent years I’ve spent every other Sunday morning at Grace Church, where my daughter is a chorister.
For more information and photos, click on through to each church’s website:
First Presbyterian: http://fpcnyc.org/
Grace Church: https://gracechurchnyc.org/
The Choirs of Grace Church: https://gracechurchnyc.org/music/