Tuesday, March 3, 2015

More and more houses of worship disappearing

From AM-NY:

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.


Anonymous said...

Faith based Religion is dead!!!
Obama is our new Cult Religion !!!
Worship at the alter of Democratic Socialist Rule or else!!!

Anonymous said...

"One thing that [closing places of worship] does is that it cuts off the community from its past,"

Many communities have gone through such dramatic change and the current residents have no idea, and little interest in what came before.

I live just outside of the Yorkville section of Manhattan. It was predominately German and Hungarian. By the 1980's most had already moved away, today only a very few of the old shops remain.
No one currently here cares and why should they?
Each influx makes it's own history in an area, and then moves-on.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they are not needed anymore. That's ok, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Nitsche was right. "God is dead".

Anonymous said...

Those old ethnic nabes have gone to yuppie condos. The houses of worship, unfortunately, no longer serve the purpose for which they were erected. Gone with the wind was more than a book title and movie. Time marches on . "Progress" rules. Let's pour some new concrete. Maybe our critics are correct. We are a decadent society.

Anonymous said...

The store font Iglesias, temples, etc. are the new houses of worship.

georgetheatheist said...

"Worship at the alter of Democratic Socialist Rule or else!!!"

How true. At least when churches were in the ascendant, charity was at society's forefront. With the advent of collectivist government, what's the need for private charity?

"I gave [via taxation] at the office."

Anonymous said...

No lack of churches in bayside. ....the asians have so many churches around there, it's crazy!! The house across the street from me is owned by a religious organization. I think most churches these days are just smaller because people Are Making Churches Out Of Houses Instead Of Building An Actual Structure.

Missing Foundation said...

Houses of worship are important for a number of reasons:

1. alternative to the Democratic Party when it comes to social services.

2. US remains a deeply religious country, especially compared to Europe. The buildings can easily be recycled into new denominations.

3. these places are great alternatives to agencies run by club house hacks that plow through funds like there is no tomorrow.

If my group needs a space, I would rather give money to a place that might use those funds usefully rather than as an an employee agency for political operatives.

4. places that have no connection to their past, like Elmhurst or Flushing are sh*tholes that even the immigrant want to leave (churning populations are a politician's dream) where, by contrast, places like the East Side have a strong connection with their past and as a result are places in demand.

Sure the Germans are a trace in Yorkville and the Italians are increasing a memory in the Village, but these communities value their heritage - in contrast to the increasing battered and beleaguered Queens which looks like it does because of venal pols and clueless sheeple.

Try to pull some of the stunts that developers take as a given in Queens in those communities and see how far you get.

Anonymous said...

The Presbyterian Church is selling off about 90% of its property and the money will be used primarily for salaries that the congregations refuse to cover. The other point is that most of the property and buildings were donated for use of the congregation and community, not to burden everyone with higher taxes for services that a larger population would impose.

Now if this issue can come before a non-political judge there could be some opportunities to keep the properties serving their community rather than some campaign donor speculator.

Anonymous said...

Go to Europe- you will notice that regardless how many people attend the church, the worship houses are intact for about 2000 years. That because, contrary to what some might argue Europeans are religious but do not make big deal out of it, and European countries have a stable, clear governmental preservationist policy. That's why Europe, which by the way built America, perpetuates its history, while at least NYC loses entirely. As long as the American public education system continues to produce monsters nothing good will ever happen here..

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
No lack of churches in bayside. ....the asians have so many churches around there, it's crazy!! The house across the street from me is owned by a religious organization. I think most churches these days are just smaller because people Are Making Churches Out Of Houses Instead Of Building An Actual Structure.

How true. Same in North Flushing! Let's not forget these "houses" are taken off the tax rolls.

Anonymous said...

Richmond Hill is dripping with churches, temples and mosques, both dedicated structures and storefronts. You cant even think of trying to park at "church hour" on Sunday!

Jerry Rotondi said...

Hey, George, wasn't the great diety in Huxley's "Brave New World"..."Our Ford"?

Anonymous said...

Hi Crappy: in a related vein: a USA Today article on one factor involved.

Anonymous said...

They want to build a church on the southeast corner of 35th Av. And 163rd St. in Broadway Flushing. Gimme some a dat new age religion.. Will it be an Asian house of worship? Probably. Does it matter? No. Except another fine old home was lost.

J.J. said...

How funny is it that some people blame this as a "change in demographics". Faith is in decline as well, true that some of the original people from neighborhoods, especially in my part of Bushwick, where some churches eventually closed (i.e. where I live now, on the former property of St. Leonard's R.C. Church) and a building replaced it, at least by Catholic Charities. Compared to the local Catholic parish, St. Leonard's definitely was a loss, it was a larger building, although decline in people going to the parish was a reason, it was ethnically German, but little to no Germans are even around! What a shame that many of these churches werw built by hard-working immigrant families, only to see them destroyed, and replaced by profane buildings, especially with hipster bars and condos all over Bushwick!

Anonymous said...

Very few go to church anymore, much less contribute enough to help in the up-keep of single-use, 19th century buildings. This is only going in one direction.

Anonymous said...

If you don't have worshipers, why have houses of worship?

Anonymous said...

"If you don't have worshipers, why have houses of worship?"

Why should modern humans "worship" anything?

Religion was the science of a pre-scientific age.

Anonymous said...

Houses converted to houses of worship get off the tax rolls. I think I will join the club. I plan to convert my home into the (was it Flup Wilson?) "Church of What's Happenin' Now Baby".