Monday, November 20, 2023

Demolition underway on the fire-damaged Middle Church façade

The top 3 photos by Jacob Ford; the rest via Derek Berg 

Workers today began to remove the remains of Middle Collegiate Church's fire-damaged façade at 112 Second Ave. between Sixth Street and Seventh Street... the first day of what is expected to be a two-to-three-month job...
This afternoon, around 3:30, church leaders and members of the Middle community gathered to mourn the sanctuary that they called home.
"This is a really important day," said the Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis (above and below in the red hat), the church's senior minister. "The beginning of something new but the end of something old."
As previously reported, church leaders said they must remove what remains on the property within the East Village/Lower East Side Historic District. According to a report commissioned by the church, the culmination of an 18-month review, there was too much damage to the existing structure to integrate it into Middle Collegiate's new home, that it wouldn't withstand a full-scale rebuild on the property. 

The church structure was destroyed during a six-alarm fire early morning on Dec. 5, 2020. The fire reportedly started inside 48 E. Seventh St., the five-story residential building that once stood on this corner. FDNY officials blamed faulty wiring at the under-renovation No. 48 and said the fire had been deemed "non-suspicious." 

By December 2024, officials hope to create a new worshiping space for up to 225 people in a two-story structure adjacent to the church and their property at 50 E. Seventh St.

Previously on EV Grieve:


Anon said...

I don’t know. I cannot put my finger on any one thing in particular, but this entire process and subsequent move to deconstruction has seemed so odd. The deep study, the length of time that’s passed, etc. I’m not saying it’s bullshit, I just can’t help but catch a whiff. Why does the approval and even the events in this post seem like a venal victory lap of sorts?

Brian Van said...

@Anon: These timelines are all typical of a situation where a monumental sanctuary is damaged beyond repair, needs replacement, and... critically... needs financing and construction design/planning. All those things take time. Can't be done in a month. Nothing odd about it.

Do you have any examples where this sort of thing has been done quicker?

Beth said...

As a 32- year member of Middle, and a deacon on the Consistory, after much thought regarding your comment I can only say, Anon, that this says more about you than us.
Reaching this milestone is indeed a victory, for a sacred community that fought hard for our continued existence in the East Village. We did not ask to see the immolation of our beautiful sanctuary. But our leadership refused to lose sight of our core mission. To serve our Creator and our neighbors since 1628.