Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Archdiocese of New York is shutting down the St. Brigid School on Avenue B and 7th Street

St. Brigid School, which was founded in 1856, will close at the end of this school year, stunned students, parents and teachers learned yesterday.

Said one: "Kids sent home crying with a letter to their parent/guardian. School being closed by the Archdiocese without warning." Another parent told me this via Facebook: "The school said they had no idea. Teachers and the administration are distraught and so sad ... such a good and well-kept school. Hard to believe."

Here's the announcement on the school's website:

On Feb. 4, the Archdiocese of New York announced that St. Brigid School in Manhattan will cease operations at the end of the current academic year.

We understand that this is upsetting and concerning news, but rest assured that additional information on this development, as well as the resources to ensure that your child can continue their education at an excellent Catholic School nearby, will be forthcoming this week and posted on a special web page we have created for parents: https://catholicschoolsny.org/st-brigid, where additional information and resources will be available and updated regularly.

Here's what the Archdiocese posted:

On February 4, the Archdiocese of New York announced changes to a number of Catholic schools across the Archdiocese. Regretfully, St. Brigid School will cease operations at the end of the current academic year.

Despite the Archdiocese’s best efforts to maintain the operational and financial viability of the school, continuing to educate students in a building that is underutilized and in need significant improvements has proven unfeasible.

St. Brigid School students will have the opportunity to continue their Catholic education at another nearby Catholic School, some of which are listed below. We encourage you to visit potential schools at your earliest convenience to see how your child can continue receiving an excellent faith-based education.

• Guardian Angel Elementary School
• Immaculate Conception Elementary School
• Our Lady of Pompeii Elementary School
• Transfiguration Elementary School

Only one of those schools, Immaculate Conception, is in the East Village.

St. Brigid, located on Avenue B at Seventh Street (prime spot for condos some day), serves students from nursery school through 8th grade.

St. Brigid's Roman Catholic Church on Avenue B at Eighth Street was nearly demolished in 2006, but an unknown donor put up the money ($20 million) to renovate the historic structure. The church reopened in January 2013.

Updated 10 a.m.

School parents are organizing ... and they want to know more about the decision to close St. Brigid.

Said one parent in the comments:

Receiving a letter home in a kid's backpack, like it was a field trip permission slip, is unacceptable. It gave no concrete reasons but claims that they did their best to keep the school open. It is not 'your best' if you did not include the community most affected. The families are not naive, but they are getting organized!

There is a Twitter account now — @BrigidSave ... and a Facebook group.

Updated 5 p.m.

The Post followed up on the story, talking to students and parents...

Heartsick students at a 163-year-old Manhattan Catholic school burst into tears Monday after learning it would shutter permanently at the end of this academic year.

Founded in 1856, the Saint Brigid School in the East Village was one of five city Catholic schools marked for closure by the Archdiocese of New York this week.

“They told us during assembly,” said a downcast Carly Auringer, an 11-year-old sixth-grader. “Everyone was crying.”

Students said they had formed rare bonds with classmates over the years — and struggled to accept being separated from them next year.

Image via Google Street View


noble neolani said...

This is a big lot, whoever the church sells this to will bribe City Hall to make sure a tower of condo's is built here. The will use the Christodoro as a president of the height for Ave B along with scooping air-rights for a most low-rise neighborhood. The proposed office building on 3rd and St Marks shows how creative developers are when it comes to bending zoning laws. This lot could be the Alphabets first tall eyesore.

genevieve said...

Has a reason been as to why St. Brigid is closing?

Anonymous said...

Everyone has their price.

Anonymous said...

Receiving a letter home in a kid's backpack, like it was a field trip permission slip, is unacceptable. It gave no concrete reasons but claims that they did their best to keep the school open. It is not 'your best' if you did not include the community most affected. The families are not naive, but they are getting organized!
Facebook: Save Saint Brigid School NYC
Twitter: @BrigidSave

DrGecko said...

"Additional information ... will be forthcoming this week."

Sorry to inform you that you have terminal cancer. Additional information will be forthcoming maybe in a few days or whenever.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I am crestfallen. As someone whom lives down the street, and someone whom doesn't even have children, I find this appalling. I have walked past this school countless times since I moved into this neighborhood in 2010. It is an integral part of our neighborhood. I see this as a counter measure in demolishing this space and making room for yet another tacky condo building. Why? A move like this will be devastating for the community. There must be an underlying reason for this. Something of this measure doesn't happen over night. And shame on the school for sending the notices in the kids backpacks. Cowardly and unnecessary. Whatever happened to a meeting for all to attend to discuss it? They probably didn't want the backlash. WTF is happening to our hood?

Anonymous said...

I don't get -- why can't church sell air rights above school.. even let it go a few floors higher in exchange for guarantee that church will keep the school open for 50 more years or something

Giovanni said...

So now we are losing the Boys Club on one corner of Tompkins Square Park, and St. Brigid School on the diagonally opposite corner of the park, where two giant towers will soon rise into the heavens, all so that the new condo owners in each building can complain about how the other condo is blocking their view.

cmarrtyy said...

If the school closes what happens to the church. How viable will it be? Boy, the unknown donor who gave the 20mill to renovate it must be scratching his head. They're going to tear it down anyway!

It makes you wonder why the church was renovated to begin with. The 20 mill should have been spent on the school - renovation and scholarships. It's the tuition that keeps catholic schools empty.

The Archdiocese should sell the church and use the money for the school. The education the school provides is better FOR STUDENTS NOW AND IN THE FUTURE than having a half empty church just sitting there. BE CREATIVE!

Anonymous said...

It was just announced on the news that the archdiocese is closing 7 schools in several boroughs. I wonder if they were all notified in the same despicable way...

noble neolani said...

Ok I'll say it... The Catholic Church needs money to pay for all the molestation settlements in recent years. The church is sitting on very valuable property all of which has been tax free since.... Attendance in most traditional houses of worship has dwindled, after all being "spiritual" means you don't have to leave your home anymore. My Catholic school closed in the late 60's and my first experience at a public school was in the 6th grade. I'm impressed St Brigid last to this day.

I think this property should be handed over to the NYC and be used for social programs and the church should not be allowed to sell it for condos. This tax free status has expired now it is time to give this land back to the people of the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

I will be onboard with children getting a "Catholic education" when the church stops promoting homophobia.

Anonymous said...

Why is the anonymous donor scratching "his" head?

Anonymous said...

It would be very nice if the anonymous donor came forward again to save this school.

What Dolan is doing to Catholic education (and to the people of NYC) with closing schools & churches in order to sell of the real estate is going to backfire big-time.

Simply stated: if you don't have the schools, you're going to have completely empty pews in the churches in the future.

I realize some people will say "yay" to that, but as someone who benefited greatly from an excellent and FREE Catholic school education back in the day (an education good enough to get me offers of scholarships from multiple universities, including Pratt and NYU), I know what Catholic schools can offer.

And the families and faculty of St. Brigid's deserve far better than this underhanded move.

Anonymous said...

I love this church. I sincerely hope there is no foul play at that school and I truly hope no children have been abused. If so expose shame and punish the culprit and to the angel that paid the 20 million to save the church last time you better run him his/her money back with interest, PERIOD.


Anonymous said...

As a former altar boy and Catholic school student, I agree with one of the commenters. This is probably a resolve to many of its mounting legal issues/battles surrounding the enormous sexual abuse it has imposed on the lives of so many. Decades of molestation concealed by priests, archbishops and cardinals are now surfacing to haunt them as it should. And, yes I would possibly consider returning to that faith IF and WHEN they stopped promoting homophobia and touting hypocrisy as its currency. It's never going to happen. I was often told in class, "Love the sinner. Hate the sin." Or," You can be a homosexual. You just can't act on it." The problem is priests can also enter into a confessional, atone for their sins, pray, and do it all over again to another helpless, innocent child. I am much happier as an infidel and as an out gay man than being perpetually judged and ridiculed in an organized religion as I live "a deviant lifestyle."

Catholic School has a collective no longer carries the same weight as it did during my childhood and adolescence of the 80's and 90's when I attended it. I am lucky nothing happened to me personally, yet I know many whose lives were forever altered and destroyed by the hands of other priests who got their way with them and covered up their dirty deeds by being transferred to another parish or school. The Catholic System for the most part is impossible to be financially sustained given our present and ever changing climate, not to mention the payoffs to the countless number of their victims from all over the world. The loss of St. Bridget is devastating for our community. It is, however, just one of the many ensuing closures from the NYC archdiose is facing and beyond. At the end of the day, it is about money, which they seem to be lacking as of late. I hope the students of St. Bridget will find another home to learn and grow soon. Peace.

Unknown said...

What else.. money..it's always money..

Anonymous said...

Enrollment is low. It has been for years. That's definitely part of it.

Carol from East 5th Street said...

Yes it's really obvious that the church is trying to recoup the money they have to pay to defend child molesters and pay for the many law suits that have been filed against them. It's a shame that local parishes and schools are the targets for the money they need. Heaven forbid they should tap the 10-15 billion dollars of estimated wealth of the Vatican to pay for all of this.

Last year the church launched a "Renew, Rebuild" campaign (on top of their annual Cardinal's Appeal) asking parishioners to pledge monthly tithes which I am sure was to pay for these very same issues.

As long as the Catholic Church refuses to allow priests to marry this situation will not go away. But that too comes down to money. Let's face it - if a priest marries and then divorces the church might have to pay alimony and/or child support.

Sad, whether in religion or politics it always comes down to money.

Anonymous said...

The same developer will buy the school and The Boys Club and the city will sell air rights over Tompkins Park so it can build a sky bridge between them. This way they will only need one indoor pool and gym for both.

cmarrtyy said...

I may be mistaken but I believe that when a part of a parish is sold the money stays with the parish. And if the parish is closed, the money is shared by the nearby parishes. It's worth checking... if you are concerned.

Anonymous said...

Ladies and Gents, Pay their legal bills at the expense of the children and parents. Faith is not at risk just the bank accounts.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I see a shiny, overpriced condo soon replacing this corner where units will go for over 1.5 million. Only in NYC kids. Its all about bling $$$$

Anonymous said...

Our Real Estate Developers in Bloomberg's billionaire's heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done,
on East Village as it is in NYC.
Give us this day our daily brunch,
And forgive us our soulcycling,
as we forgive them that Citibike against us;
And lead us not into Santacon temptation,
But deliver us from NIMBYS.

Anonymous said...

@10:04pm: I think you're wrong about that, but I swear to it. I just know that the several parishes I ever belonged to that were wiped out by Dolan never saw a penny.

Anonymous said...

The Director of Admissions at St Brigid School should be really held accountable where student numbers are concerned. Falling from 240, when she started out at the school 4 years ago, to 119 today ??????
Her lack of professionalism to potential incoming families and attending families was really unacceptable.
How she was allowed to continue her career at the school really poses questions, many attending families wrote letters of complaint to the Arch and no one listened.
Was her positioning at the school purposely done by the Arch with the idea that she would force the attending families to leave and others not to sign up. It’s baffling to figure out, your trying to grow a school and you have somebody as uncaring and as disorganized as this human being in the drivers seat ????

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I view the Catholic Church much like the mob. Organized crime at it finest. Cover up the crimes of those closest to you. Lie. Cover your tracks. Deny everything. Perpetuate the obvious without getting caught. Move to a new location Never pay taxes. Infinite sums of money in secret places. Pretend nothing ever happens. Go to church. Pray. And repeat. I don't see how this organization can remain relevant without accountability and a significant rebrand.

Samuel J. Howard said...

That's what the Archdiocese will tell you. The money from selling property goes the parish. What they won't be so eager to tell you is that the Archdiocese takes a 50% tax from parishes when they sell property. So on reality they only keep half the money and the Archdiocese takes the other half.

Anonymous said...

If my memory serves me correct the donor of the twenty million also in that sum placed some money for the operational expenses of the school. The generosity of the donor to save St.Brigid Church with "his" money should not be questioned as if it should be spent on the school instead. He did in fact allocate a portion of his gift to the school. The fact is fewer parents seek a faith based education for their children and tuition affords additional barriers. The Archdiocese will sell for the highest dollar it can get for the land it was prepared to do this at St.Brigid until a knight with a wallet showed up. It closed St.Emeric instead combining the congregations. The Catholic population in NYC has been declining for decades other sales; Brutalist style Church on Second Ave (really Ugly) and the Church, Rectory and Elementary school on Ave A btwn 11 and 12 that were in poor shape.
The Archdioceses will get its silver. The land however can not be rezoned to new zoning requirements increasing height and bulk to rationalize the price of the land, on this the community must stand strong.

Anonymous said...

Why don't churches ever have to pay taxes? Why are they immune?

Anonymous said...

@anon 4:51:

Churches don't pay taxes for the same reason that billionaires don't pay taxes - political muscle. The mechanisms involved are totally different, however.

Kriti said...

The Catholic Archodiesce should be ashamed. They have sold the land on East 12 th st and ave.A of a beautiful church to that luxury development.
They have shuttered the church on 2nd ave.and 5th which could and should be re-purposed as a shelter./homeless canteen ...

The closure of a school in the East Village is another shocking example of how far real estate interests have taken over everything in NY.
The Catholic Church in NY is very ,very rich.
It is shameful that they are closing churches and schools without any plans to re-integrate them into communities and work toward the common good and welfare that all churches' and faiths missions were meant to work towards.
Isn't it time they use their spaces for good, rather than greed, as was their purpose in the past.?