Skip to comments.For Sale: Fourth Avenue’s Old Churches
Posted on 06/14/2008 9:41:36 AM PDT by Marc Tumin
Bay Ridges so-called Faith Avenue is losing its religion.
Leader of Our Saviours Lutheran Church say that by this fall they may choose a developer to demolish their 80-year-old house of worship to make room for private residences atop a smaller ground-floor house of worship, joining a number of Fourth Avenue religious institutions that are downsizing to generate cash for struggling congregations.
Rev. Craig Miller, pastor at Our Saviours, says that even with the help of the churchs popular pre-school, his dwindling congregation of about 40 cannot afford the $100,000 annual upkeep on the 80th Street church, not to mention the $300,000 of work that has been put off because of funding woes.
Miller and his congregation are considering leveling their church and building a ground-floor storefront topped by condos that would provide the necessary cash to keep the house of worship alive a plan that dwindling Fourth Avenue congregations of all denominations are embracing.
The Bay Ridge Jewish Center which is next door to Our Saviours voted almost unanimously last week to tear down an old synagogue that can fit 600 worshippers for a smaller temple for its 100 congregants. The remaining land would be sold to a developer.
Minus the controversy and the protestors, Our Saviours plight is no different than that of the Bay Ridge United Methodist Church dubbed the Green Church for its verdant stonework where the congregation wants demolish the 108-year-old building to make room for a smaller church and condos.
Our Saviours has not yet decided whether it will demolish its church, but Miller is optimistic about the potential development of land owned by Bay Ridge churches.
My hope is that in freeing ourselves from the burden of these buildings wed be able to focus on ministry, he said. Brooklyn Bridge Realty
While neighborhood preservationists curse the proposed demolitions, real-estate experts say that churches and condo developers are a match made in heaven.
When these properties go on sale, its a payday for the seller and the buyers, said Bay Ridge realtor Tom McGuire.
©2008 The Brooklyn Paper
Interesting idea - you could structture an endowment for the church into the condo fees.
I’m from Brooklyn. I know the area. Went to high school down there. It’s a shame. Demographics and rising property values.
I left NY many years ago, but recently went back and toured the city with friends who never have been there.
I had forgotten all the old, wonderful churches that exist there. They are truly a reminder of a time when priorities were different.
In a way, it amazed me that New Yorkers are so ignorant of this country’s history and ideals when they surrounded by all this magnificence.
Heck just cede the church over to the mohammadens. Can’t touch that!
80 years old is an “old Church”?
A thousand years old would be a legitimately old church. A building 80 years old has all the antiquity of a bowling alley.
Ahh, my bad. 108, not 80. Well that’s the barest tint of oldness then.
Steps are a huge problems when you have people in wheelchairs or people who are feeble.
That was one of the reasons we sold our lovely old building and built a new one. Our elders are much more comfortable in the new and as a result they are able to attend every service rather then just when they are feeling at the top of their game.
I do miss our stain glass windows though.
Well, a building 80 or 100 years is kind of old by American standards. There are no 600 year old American cathedrals. I can see how some sort of new storefront building could be more utilitarian and affordable for a church building, but that is really bland when compared with an older church building. I know, an ageing building that is in disrepair is not a pleasant place, either.
Reminiscent of "Planet of the Apes."
And I dare you to come here and find an 80 year old bowling alley.
My old church (which is over 125 years old) put in a concrete ramp back in the 70s. Most of the older churches that I’ve been to have been retrofitted with ramps and have been making accomodations for the elderly. They try to remove all the obstacles to worship that they can.
I’m right near the area. Mosques are rising, though not as quickly as the churches are coming down. The old residents are moving out and being replaced by metrosexual professionals from all over. Little Palestine is growing and moving westward from 5th avenue. The constant is change, though I am not sure it’s for the better.
My girlfriend was born and raised in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. She’s visiting her father right now, and she says the entire area is almost completely Chinese!
It’s right near Leif Ericson Park (where her Dad lives) and she said you can go walking to the park, back to Scatturo’s, then to the Fort Hamilton train station, back to the park, and you’ll see virtually no white people or hear people speaking English.
It’s strange, when she was a little girl the area was Italian. Her grandparents were from Sicily and that’s where Sicilians went when they left Ellis island...to Bay Ridge. There’s even a social club still there for people from Sciaca, Sicily, where they were from.
The BIG difference though is when they came over they WANTED to be Americans! The Chinese and Arabs moving into Bay Ridge do not become Americans, they don’t learn our language and they have no intention of becoming asimmilated.
I remember one year we walked from her house near Faico’s to her aunt’s house in Bensonhurst, the day before Independence day. EVERY single Italian house was flying the American flag, while not one single Chinese house or Arab house was flying the flag. It was like they were living in their own country, not America.
She went shopping at The Great Wall, a Chinese market, and every person there bought their food with food stamps, excepet for her and an Italian guy, who paid cash.
When her grandparents came over, they had to be sponsored and show they were able to make a living. One was a jeweler, one was a cabinet maker, so they let them in. Now, apparently, not only do you NOT have to speak English, but you can apparently get on welfare the moment you come over here.
She saw a van pull up to the Bay Ridge library and people came out, social activists, with forms for the immigrants to fill out, giving them all sorts of government aid.
Why on Earth are we allowing this??? Don’t we have enough poor people in this country that we need to support without letting in millions more than have no intentions of ever becoming Americans??
“Interesting idea - you could structture an endowment for the church into the condo fees.”
Will get mighty interesting when a church of Satan starts having home services in one of the condos.
The churches are getting smaller because less Gospel means less people. Even for the Jewish temple, less Torah means fewer members. These mainline churches have been abandoning the Bible for years. And they’re shocked, just shocked that people are leaving.
Revisionist post-WWII myth. The Italians and Poles actually migrated to segregated enclaves where they continued to speak the language in the first generation. My GGrandmothers never even learned English. They didn't have to, being that they settled in an ethnic ghetto.
The big difference between the old school Eye-ties and Poles is that they frequently had three generations in the same neighborhood, including those who were more Americanized, such as your GF. The Chinese tend to start in rentals, buy a house, move from that house to go to suburbia (Tenafly, NJ being a good example) and then rent out the house to other immigrants.
The Chinese and Arabs, whatever their faults, are more educated than the Italians who came all those years ago and, especially in the case of the Chinese, are more financially successful in the first generation. They truly are the "new Jews" in many ways. You won't see too many fat second and third generation Chinese sitting around in wifebeaters talking about how "duh naybahood has changed."
Italian-Americans (I be half Italian myself, family with roots in Salerno and then Jersey City) have a tendency to idealize the past, and have "blockage" when analyzing new groups coming in.
The Chinese and the Arabs came here legally, build businesses, and push their kids to go to college. I see no problem with that, although I am worried about the caveman religion that the Muslims practice. Maybe their children and grandchildren will join our secular future, but I am not holding my breath in that regard.
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