As the city looks for ways to contain its ever-growing housing problem, historical and architectural experts say New York's religious institutions become targets for elimination to make room for the new guard.
Over the past few decades, hundreds of churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship have been shut down due to higher costs and declining attendance only to be replaced by condos, small shops and, in one case, a nightclub.
Although some of these buildings retain a facade or some other physical remain of their religious presence, preservationists say their absences create a void.
"Every time something like this happens there can be a cause for concern and introspection of the changes in the neighborhood," said Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.
Experts say it is hard to calculate how many religious institutions are in danger because such decisions come from their respective orders.
In many cases, their closures aren't announced until the eleventh hour.
Colin Cathcart, an architect and associate professor of design at Fordham University, said religious buildings in the city are the few major examples of long standing history traditionally impervious to the constantly changing cityscape.
"One thing that [closing places of worship] does is that it cuts off the community from its past," he said.