Friday, January 5, 2024

The remains of the fire-damaged Middle Church structure have been removed

Photo by Steven 

This morning, workers finished removing the rest of the sidewalk bridge from the SE corner of Seventh Street and Second Avenue, marking the end of the demolition on the Middle Collegiate Church property.

Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, senior minister at Middle Collegiate Church, previously told us this was expected to be a two-to-three-month job. It turned out to be about a month and a half, as work started on Nov. 20.
Lewis also explained that it would be a combination demolition-salvage operation. Workers sifted through the remains of the building, initially completed in 1892, to save any of the limestone and ironwork for use in the new sanctuary that will eventually rise on the property. (We will post some of the in-progress photos next week.)

As previously reported, church leaders said they had to remove what remained 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:


Anonymous said...

Looks a lot better. Hope something will be built soon.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry it's gone. I understand why they had to demolish it, but it is (and always will be) a very sad loss.

This magnificent building's facade was beautiful, and the church itself served the community in a committed way for such a long time from within those walls.

To lose that, b/c of the building next door, which was a nothingburger of a building with crappy wiring, is tragic beyond words.

I know the church's community is carrying on (and thank God for that!), but nothing can ever make up for the loss of the gorgeous original building in our neighborhood.

Mark said...

I agree with the sentiments from 3:13 PM

It was beautiful and distinctive. It also reminded me how many of the churches in Paris were constructed. I appreciated Middle Collegiate's solid place as a pillar in our community even though I am now an atheist I am trying not to go off topic here. Bear with me please. I was baptized and raised Catholic where there was so much vitriol for the LGBTQ + community. The messaging was truly psychotic and dark. When I came out as a young gay man during the mid to late 90s, there were no places of refuge for queer people to connect and to feel accepted within the spiritual realm. This place served as the anthesis of that and ultimately facilitated a meaningful purpose in being inclusive, kind, loving, and safe for everyone w/o judgment. One of my friends was a member and he misses it dearly. It is quite sad that it ceases to exist today. I am optimistic however that whatever stands in its place will offer a new beginning for this neighborhood. HNY!