2006_04_02_unknown.jpg

In light of the sad fate of St. Brigid on 7th and B, Fortotten-NY points our attention to the beautiful church in the above photo, St. Savior's. Where is this looker? Would you believe Maspeth, Queens?

A Gotham history lesson! Way back in 1847 U.S. Congressman James Mauricce donated land across the street from his home (which still stands) to the Episcopal Church which founded St. Savior's. In the original deed there is a stipulation stating that the land may only be used for the purposes of a church. The architect Richard Upjohn, who designed Trinity Church, was called in to design the church in a Gothic style the Maurice family admired.

In 1970 the church was damaged in a fire, but was restored and rededicated in '72. A dwindling congregation forced the Episcopal Church to vacate the building in 1995. The San Sung Korea Methodist Church of New York occupied it from 1997 until last October. Which is where where the bulldozers come in:

The development company that bought the property in October, Maspeth Development LLC, has applied for a zoning change that would allow housing to be built on the property.

The property is currently under a mixed-use zone that excludes housing. The R5B zoning the developers have applied for allows for one- and two-family detached and semidetached rowhouses.

Local activist Christina Wilkinson points out that because of the initial deed the " plans to demolish the historic church and parsonage in order to erect up to 40 homes is illegal." A Councilman could get an 'order to show cause' in the State Supreme Court. That would stop all work on the property pending further investigation. He could also "request that the Landmarks Preservation Commission calendar the property for further information gathering and public hearings. The calendaring of a property puts an automatic stop to demolition. Up to now, he hasn't done so despite many pleas from his constituents." Yet so far Councilman Dennis Gallagher has only written a letter of support. Suspicious.

And because it's Sunday and you were good and sat through that whole lesson, here's one last fun story about the building's recent history, from forgotten-ny:

Bob Holden, President of the Juniper Park Civic Association, went down to St. Savior's this morning to take photos and the owner came out, got into his car, threw the car in reverse and tried to run him over. He jumped out of the way just in time. It was all caught on video. The owner had called the police to report a "stolen car" to get them down there so he could report that someone was taking photos of his property. He wasn't arrested for the false 911 call and wasn't arrested for the attempted assault on Bob.

So, who wants to get Holden's video up on YouTube?