From the NY Post:
Neighbors and parishioners of an East Village church are steaming mad over a developer’s plans to demolish the 96-year-old building for market-rate apartments — and it’s just one of many historic holy houses in need of divine intervention.
Douglas Steiner, head of the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Steiner Studios, bought Mary Help of Christians on East 12th Street for $41 million in November. Now he has permits to raze the sacred site, which includes a rectory, school and parking lot, for residential property with ground-floor retail.
But preservationists say the Roman Catholic church can be saved.
“This is heartbreaking,” said Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. “We hope [Steiner] can see the light and realize it’s advantageous to use something that’s special rather than demolishing it for something that’s a dime a dozen.”
Also likely condemned to the wrecking ball is the 140-year-old St. Vincent de Paul on West 23rd Street in Chelsea.
In Soho, the century-old Our Lady of Vilnius is on the market for $13 million — more than a year after parishioners lost a lawsuit against the Archdiocese to stop the Romanesque Revival church’s demolition.
Meanwhile, Harlem residents are bristling at the partial demolition of St. Thomas the Apostle, a 106-year-old Roman Catholic parish on West 118th Street. The Gothic Revival church was first established for Irish immigrants.
I'm also told that Brooklyn's historic St Peter's Lutheran Church and Sunday School on Bedford Ave near Dekalb Ave. is being demolished. Maspeth Jewish Center is rumored to be on its last leg as well.
While it is true that American society as a whole has become less religious over the years causing drops in attendance, a lot of the local abandonment also has to do with displacing communities of people via forced gentrification and redlining. Religious properties are generally large and therefore are "soft targets" for development. The City, at least under this regime, likes it when they are torn down and replaced with condos because it gets them on the tax rolls (in 25 or 30 years when the exemptions expire). What the community gets is more overcrowding and strain on government services. And a boring architectural landscape.