Sad news from the New York Post today: the 157-year old St. Brigid church on Avenue B and 7th Street will be razed. A Manhattan Supreme Court judge refused to block the demolition, so short of a miracle, nothing is going to save this beautiful building. The archdiocese is saying they don't have the seven million dollars required to bring the building up to code-- despite neighborhood claims that the true price tag is only $500k. Really depressing stuff-- especially considering the historical pedigree of the building-- designed by the famous Irish architect Patrick Keely:
St. Brigid's may in fact be the oldest Keely church still standing. Its corner stone was laid on September 10th, 1848, and construction was completed in a somewhat astonishing fifteen months. Designed in the Carpenter's Gothic style, the building is without transepts or apse (that is to say, it is rectilinear rather than crossshaped), and features a nave (center seating area) flanked by a north and south aisle, each with a second-story seating gallery fronted by elaborate wainscoting. The vaulted ceiling above the nave is said to have been fashioned by shipbuilders as an upside-down boat; and indeed, one student of architecture sees this theory borne out in the "extraordinary flattening of the nave vaulting," which resembles the hull of a ship. Sculpted faces that abut the corbels supporting the roof are said to honor the shipwrights who built the church.
The stations of the cross were purchased in Paris in the 1870s, and one source lists them as the work of Théophile-Narcisse Chauvel, a French painter and printmaker active during that time. The statue of St. Brigid was made by an unnamed Munich artist and installed in 1884. Also during that decade, a new floor of Georgia pine was laid; the church's ceilings and walls were "frescoed in light colors by A. Ertle [sometimes seen as "E. Ertle"], the church decorator"; carved ash pews from the G. Faulhaber factory in Cleveland were put in; and the aisles raised five inches for better sight-lines.
Read more about the struggle to save St. Brigid's at the Save St. Brigid website. And check out the overhead shot of the Church on WLL-- it's location on Tompkins Square Park is probably going to make a nice spot for a luxury condo project.