Monday, January 28, 2008

Losing an important part of our history

Throughout the city, houses of worship built in the last century for Jewish and Christian immigrants from Europe are now home to congregations with roots in Latin America, the Caribbean or the American South. Some are grand palaces that occupy a regal spot in a neighborhood, while others are modest halls nearly indistinguishable from bland storefronts. They sustain communities by helping slake spiritual and material thirsts.

Once Synagogues, Now Churches, and Ailing Quietly

Many of these buildings are under threat, crumbling from years of neglect and deferred maintenance in the case of impoverished congregations, or becoming targets for acquisition by developers in neighborhoods where choice real estate is scarce.

Preservationists have begun to sound alarms, warning that rich urban traditions of art, religion and community service are imperiled.

“You see in these buildings history and continuity, and the influence of new populations and new religions,” said Peg Breen, president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy. “The face of the city will change and an important part of our history will be lost if these buildings disappear.”

“If nothing is done, these churches could fall like dominoes,” [Julia Vitullo-Martin] said. “There is something sad about the destruction of something of great beauty. It is the ultimate in using up your capital when you destroy a church or synagogue.”

Photo from the NY Times


Anonymous said...

Has your "sacred sites" program
fallen by the wayside....Ms. Breen ?

Is it to be action or just more words
from The Conservancy ?

Tsk, tsk, tsk....
it's always seems to be the same old,

verdi said...

First it was theaters and movie palaces.

Now it's houses of worship that
are historic preservation's most endangered species !

Anonymous said...

can u say Korean presbyterian church..hell, there everywhere. old temples, churches, even the old florist shop in my neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

I think that Reverend Sun Myung Moon's
"Unification Church" (real estate company)
has broken up into so called separate
little churches over the years.

He's now decentralized his whole operation
in order to avoid facing federal tax evasion charges.

I'll bet if somebody takes the time
to do some careful research (forensic accounting) ,
we'll soon find out that Moon still has a hand
in all this!

Maybe all of these scattered Korean churches
are still tied to his old mother company!