Showing posts sorted by relevance for query st. Brigid's. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query st. Brigid's. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wow -- St. Brigid's is SAVED (hallelujah!)

Just what the neighborhood needed. Amazing news.

The City Room has the story:

Donor Gives $20 Million to Save St. Brigid’s
By Sewell Chan

An anonymous donor has come to the rescue of St. Brigid’s Roman Catholic Church in the East Village, saving the building — which has presided over Tompkins Square Park since 1848 — from demolition and making it possible for the structure to be reopened as a parish church.
The Archdiocese of New York announced this morning that a donor had come forward with an “unexpected but very welcome gift” after a private meeting with Cardinal Edward M. Egan, the archbishop of New York.
The gift includes $10 million to restore the building, at 119 Avenue B; $2 million to establish an endowment for the parish “so that it might best meet the religious and spiritual needs of the people living in the community”; and $8 million to support the St. Brigid’s School and other Catholic schools in need.
Cardinal Egan expressed gratitude in a statement:
This magnificent gift will make it possible for Saint Brigid’s Church to be fittingly restored with its significant structural problems properly addressed. The two additional gifts, to create an endowment for the parish and to support the parish school, are a powerful testament to the donor’s goodness and understanding. He has my heartfelt gratitude, as I recently told him at a meeting in my residence.
The church was built by Irish immigrants who had fled the Potato Famine in the 1840s. Financial hardship has evidently been a longstanding part of the parish’s history. An 1889 article [pdf] in The Times reported that the parish was finally consecrated after a 40-year effort to repay its debts.
The church has witnessed momentous changes in the neighborhood. In 1991, the pastor of the church and two other clergymen were arrested on disorderly conduct charges when they crossed police lines to deliver food to protesters holed up in an apartment near Tompkins Square Park, which was the site of clashes between protesters and the police. In 1995, Pope John Paul II visited St. Brigid’s School — which was already suffering from declining enrollment — during a pastoral visit to the United States.
The church’s main building closed in 2001 because of structural problems, and the final Mass, in the basement of the Catholic school next door, was held in 2004. Despite fund-raising efforts, protests by parishioners and lamentations by Mary Gordon, a writer and memoirist who teaches at Barnard College, the church was scheduled to be closed. But supporters of the church filed a lawsuit, and in 2006, a day after demolition work began, a Manhattan judge issued a temporary restraining order halting the work.
Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said that a precise date for reopening the parish had not yet been set.
“We obviously need to talk to priests in the area,” Mr. Zwilling said in a phone interview this morning. “It’s also going to take some time to restore the building. This is something that’s going to take months, at the very least, if not a couple of years. We can’t really tell yet. We’ve got architects who are starting to develop plans. Then we’re going to have to hire construction firms to do the work. There are significant structural problems that need to be repaired.”

Holy Fucking Shit. (Oops. Sorry God. But c'mon!)

[Updated] So this is all sinking in a little bit. Jeremiah floated the idea that perhaps Matt Dillon was the guardian angel. Interesting idea. (Does he have this kind of money? I helped the cause by buying multiple copies of Wild Things.) For whatever reasons, Dillon has been an ardent supporter to help save the church from the evil Catholics who likely wanted to turn it into another NYU dorm or condo to help pay for legal bills for you know what. (I'm Catholic, or was, so I know what.) OK, sarcasm aside, good for Dillon for helping out the Committee to Save St. Brigid's. And thank goodness for them. Without all their work, the church would have been destroyed years back.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

St. Brigid's and Matt Dillon, together again?

Late yesterday afternoon, I took a stroll by St. Brigid's on Avenue B at Eighth Street... Just to check in on her...see what was what with the scaffolding. Nothing going on with the church. Across the street, though, Matt Dillon was standing there, borderline incognito in aviator sunglasses. He was talking on a cell phone.

I wouldn't usually note a sighting like this... but, as you know, Dillon supports the church... Maybe he was there to see St. Brigid's? Couldn't tell you. I didn't linger. I ran home as fast as I could to write this post! (Kidding! I didn't run.)

Dillon attended some Save St. Brigid's rallies in the past. The Villager had a story on it back in June 2007:

"After the rally, Dillon lingered for nearly an hour as he waxed on about St. Brigid’s uniqueness and 'minimalist' beauty, at one point throwing his arm around a Channel 2 news cameraman to show him the best angle to capture the cathedral.

'There’s a kind of spiritual energy that’s attached with this church. Something that’s very soulful,' offered Dillon. 'It’s more than any church that I’ve been around. Every time I come here, I’m more impressed by just how beautiful it is,' explained the actor, who also filmed 'The Saint of Fort Washington' in a squat around the corner from St. Brigid’s.

'There’s nothing ostentatious about this church. But there’s something very elegant,' Dillon continued. 'It was designed by a famous architect. It reflects the poor immigrants who came here. They built it the best they could. It should be preserved to tell that history, just like Ellis Island.'"

[Photo by William Alatriste, New York City Council]

Friday, January 25, 2013

Conspiracy theories: Who was the anonymous donor behind St. Brigid's $20 million donation?

Headlines from May 22, 2008 ...

On this date (or, online the day before!), we learned that an anonymous donor came to the rescue of St. Brigid's, which reopens Sunday, saving the historic building's grounds on Avenue B and East Eighth Street from life as a condo or dorm. (There was also talk in 2003-2004 that the Cabrini Center would move here from down on East Fifth Street, as The Villager reported.)

Per the Times: "The gift includes $10 million to restore the building, at 119 Avenue B; $2 million to establish an endowment for the parish so that it might best meet the religious and spiritual needs of the people living in the community'; and $8 million to support the St. Brigid's School and other Catholic schools in need."

Great news. And fodder for conspiracy theorists. Matt Dillon! Bette Midler! The Villager mentioned Chuck Feeney, "an Irish-American philanthropist who has given about $400 million anonymously through The Atlantic Philanthropies, which he endowed."

And now, Dave on 7th shares his conspiracy theory:

Ever since St Brigid's was saved, I've wondered why, after going to literally the last hour in trying to demolish the church and sell off its incredibly valuable real estate, the Archdiocese would suddenly accept the offer of an anonymous donor and essentially rebuild the whole church from scratch.

My theory is that the "donor" is in fact the Archdiocese itself, and they needed to remain anonymous because they had just closed like four parishes in the neighborhood.

Interestingly, the parish that survived the cuts was St Emeric, which is housed in a nondescript church located on a dead-end street behind a power plant.

At some point a year or two ago, I saw flyers on Avenue C announcing that the Cardinal would be holding a mass at St Emeric. That's a BIG deal for a little church in a nondescript building behind a power plant.

Then came the announcement that St Emeric would "merge" with St Brigid's, and that the parish priest would come from St Emeric. That clinched it for me.

This was a deal between St Emeric and the Cardinal (who, by the way, is going to lead the first mass in the new church, again a very BIG deal) to rebuild the church and turn it over to whatever order St Emeric's is. And it all had to remain anonymous and unassociated with the Archdiocese or else the other parishes that were closed, in possession of perfectly good structures would be up in arms. This way it had nothing to do with them, they were at the mercy of a wealthy donor.

In the end, I'm just glad the building was saved, but that's how I think it all happened.

What do you think? I'm still going with Matt Dillon as the donor ... all those "Wild Things" residuals ...

Bob Arihood and Crow's omen at St. Brigid's

No one has chronicled the neighborhood better than Bob Arihood. Here is a repost from Neither More Nor Less dated July 28, 2006 and titled Crow's omen.

As men washed themselves of the filth of a night and day of demolishing the interior of St. Brigid's , a crow sat cawing and harried by small but agitated and persistant birds atop the Gaelic cross at the peak of the facade of the 1848 landmark church of " Mary of Gael ", St. Brigid , the mother church of the Irish immigrants of the middle 19th century .

I am not a soothsayer and thus can not say what the presence of a crow cawing on a cross at a time like this does presage . Is there some dark fate and certain final loss with this church that we must without choice come to know and if so, should we not protest such fate extremely ? Shall this landmark and icon ,our connection with our past , just perish ? Today , the demolishers punched a hole in a stained glass window for fresh air as they demolished the precious interior and then punched a hole in the back wall of the church to defecate the brutally demolished interior of the church into the lot behind the church .Tommorow all will return to court to decide finally whether this demolishing shall stop .

The community wants this church to be saved ...preserved . But it seems there are now powerful forces dead set against saving this church ; powerful forces , the archdiocese , the bishops and the Cardinal , it seems , want St Brigids reduced to ruble . I do not truly understand why . Some say offers to purchase the church at a fair market price and then return St. Brigid's to the community have been made . It is said that the Cardinal has said no to such offers ,thus , can it be that there is more than just the money value of St. Brigid's demolished that is of concern to the archdiocese . The civil courts and the Landmarks Preservation Committee so far seem to be powerless to save this church . Finally ,why has some one not sought in canon law a path to the good grace and aid of His Holiness the Pope and the mother Church when the community now needs them most ?

Find more of Bob's St. Brigid's-related posts here.

Monday, January 14, 2013

[Updated] St. Brigid's reopens on Jan. 27

[Photo from Jan. 6.]

An EVG reader passes along word that the first mass at the restored church on Avenue B and East Eighth Street will take place on Jan. 27 ... Nearly 11 years have passed since the last mass in the main church (there were services in the school basement next door until 2004).

The church was thisclose to being demolished ... thanks to a group of hearty volunteers and parishioners who never lost hope... they were able to save the church from an after-life as a dorm or condo.

In May 2008, news broke that an anonymous donor gave $20 million to help refurbish the church... Per The New York Times: "The gift includes $10 million to restore the building, at 119 Avenue B; $2 million to establish an endowment for the parish “so that it might best meet the religious and spiritual needs of the people living in the community”; and $8 million to support the St. Brigid’s School and other Catholic schools in need."

All this seems like a hundred years ago...

Much more on St. Brigid's in the coming days/weeks... there's a lot to discuss...


Updated 1-14 9:30 a.m.
We had also asked Edwin Torres, chairman of the Committee to Save St. Brigid's, for more information. He confirmed the Jan. 27 date. The dedication mass is at 5 p.m. However, an important note: The mass, presided by Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan, is invitation-only for registered parishioners of St. Brigid's-St. Emeric's Church.

Friday, January 25, 2013

13 keys dates in the 165-year history of St. Brigid's, reopening on Sunday

[May 2012]

As we first noted on Jan. 14, St. Brigid's will reopen with an invite-only mass Sunday at 5 presided over by Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan. Nearly 11 years have passed since the last mass in the main church (there were services in the school basement next door until 2004).

This piece in the Times from 2006 provides a quick summation of the drama involving the near-demolition of the historic church ... and the work of the parishioners and neighbors who never gave up hope that they could save the church. (The Villager thoroughly covered this story through the years. Check out the paper's archives. And we've noted even the most mundane construction detail through the years here.)

Here then are a few key dates in the church's history:

1848 — Workers place the church's cornerstone

1858 — St. Brigid's School opens on East Eighth Street between Avenue B and Avenue C

1861 — Church holds a Requiem Mass for the men of the 69th New York State Militia who had been killed during the Civil War



1889 — Church finally consecrated

1890 — the first Greek Catholic Mass in New York City was celebrated in the basement by Rev. Alexander Dzubay



1954 — New St. Brigid's School opens on Avenue B and East Seventh Street, where it remains today

1962 — Church spires removed because of safety concerns

1988 — Church allows homeless advocates and protesters of the police action to mobilize under its roof during the Tompkins Square Park Riots

[EVG, circa 2008]

1992 — East wall begins separating from the building

2001 — Cardinal Edward M. Egan closes the church

2006 — Demolition begins; parishioners file suit against the Archdiocese, temporarily halting work

2008 — Anonymous "angel" donates $20 million to restore church

2013 — Church reopens

Sources: Wikipedia and Dayton in Manhattan. Oh, and Wikipedia

Photos via the NYPL Digital Gallery.

For further reading:
Dry Dock, shipyards, and St. Brigid's (EV Transitions)

Here's to the next 165 years...

[This morning]

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sidewalk shed returning to St. Brigid's; restoration to follow? (Meanwhile, Matt Dillon also returns)

Back on May 26, the sidewalk shed in front of St. Brigid's on Avenue B at Eighth Street came down... At the time, Edwin Torres, chairman of the Committee to Save St. Brigid's, told me that the scaffolding was interfering with testing that needed to be done inside the church.

This morning, the sidewalk shed is ready to return....

And I never had the chance to truly appreciate the weed tree thing that started growing from the foundation....

However, as much as I'll miss seeing the front of the church, the return of the sidewalk shed likely signals the beginning of the restoration process. Otherwise, it has been awfully quiet at the church this summer. Earlier in August, I asked Torres for an update. According to Torres: He was told by the site's construction manager that the city was holding them up. Several violations needed to be cleared up before they got the go ahead to start. "The work should have started Aug. 3," Torres wrote in an e-mail.

I took a look at the DOB Web site. There seems to be an open complaint dated from Sept. 1. And what is it for?


Um, isn't that why they're restoring the church, to fix these things? Issuing a complaint only holds up the renovation process...

And all this is happening when St. Brigid's supporter Matt Dillon has moved back to the East Village. (Fourth item in Scoopy's column in The Villager.) COINCIDENCE? (Which explains why I've seen him so much the last few months...)

Previous St. Brigid's coverage here.

Friday, June 29, 2012

A merger and new stairs for St. Brigid's

[Early last evening]

There's news to report about St. Brigid's, the under-renovation church on Avenue B and East Eighth Street. Good scoop in the current issue of The Villager, where Albert Amateau reports that St. Emeric’s Church, built in 1950 at 740 E. 13th St. at Avenue D, will close and merge with St. Brigid's.

A few passages:

Joseph Zwilling, archdiocese spokesperson, said he hoped for a September opening of St. Brigid and St. Emeric but he was not able to give a definite date.

Father Lorenzo Ato, priest in charge at St. Emeric for the past four years, will be the pastor of the new parish and has already moved into the rectory. Ato, a native of Peru, will also continue to serve as assistant director for Hispanic media for the archdiocese.

Zwilling said there was no decision yet on the disposition of the St. Emeric’s church building or the two-story parochial school built in 1952 next door on E. 12th St. and Avenue D.

[St. Emeric via Google]

Read the full story here.

Meanwhile, yesterday, the work continued at St. Brigid's... where Bobby Williams took shots of the new front steps going in... (being poured?)...

And Dave on 7th noted how the cross looked at sunset...

...and a shot of workers carry a window frame for one of the towers...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

From St. Emeric's to St. Brigid's

This afternoon, parishioners traveled from St. Emeric on East 13th Street between Avenue C and Avenue D ... to the newly reopened St. Brigid's on Avenue B and East Eighth Street...

As The Villager first reported in June, St. Emeric’s, built in 1950 at 740 E. 13th St., will close and merge with St. Brigid's.

Bobby Williams took the following photos...

St. Brigid's reopened today after more than 11 years ... in a special mass presided by Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan.

Here's the WABC report... with bonus Casey Anthony coverage tacked on...

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

St. Brigid's rectory emerges from behind construction netting, sidewalk shed

We've been posting frequent updates about the renovations at St. Brigid's on Avenue B at Eighth Street. How about the progress next door?

Last week, workers removed the construction netting and sidewalk shed outside the St. Brigid's rectory on Avenue B...

Back in November 2009, Edwin Torres, chairman of the Committee to Save St. Brigid's, told us what was happening with the rectory.

"It will be fully restored and will serve several functions, one of which will be the home for the pastor. The current church I attend does not have a rectory and the priest rents an apartment [nearby]. It will be a luxury to have a rectory."

And a reader at the time said, "The interior of the rectory is a bit of a mess (as would be expected) but there are a lot of really nice details. Pressed metal ceilings, nice moldings, etc. It'll be a really nice place for the pastor once it's fixed up..."

Here's a photo of the rectory before the sidewalk shed went up in 2008...

During the time of the construction, the sidewalk shed between the rectory and the St. Brigid School often served as a makeshift shelter of sorts. Last September, police found a woman in her 50s named Liz here. Police believed that she died from a drug overdose.

[February 2011]

And in February 2011, Tompkins Square Park regular Grace Farrell, 35, froze to death while sleeping here.

[Saturday morning outside the rectory]

Monday, February 9, 2009

New signage for St. Brigid's

There are new signs up at St. Brigid's on Avenue B at Eighth Street that note the upcoming restoration of the historic church...and its rebirth in the community.

An article in this week's issue of The Villager provides an update on the restoration:

Neighbors, elected officials and friends from near and far gathered on Feb. 1, the Feast of St. Brigid, to celebrate the victory of the Committee to Save St. Brigid’s in the group’s long struggle to prevent the demolition of the 1849 church on Tompkins Square Park.

The committee saw its dream come true last May when the Catholic Archdiocese of New York announced it had accepted a $20 million donation from an anonymous donor, including $10 million to restore and maintain the building and the parish and another $10 million to endow parish schools in the area.

The donor is still anonymous and the archdiocese has declined to identify the “angel” who made the gift.

Edwin Torres, leader of the committee, told the gathering on Sunday that the archdiocese had received the last $5 million installment of the $10 million for the building restoration on Dec. 16 and that architects and engineers have been working in the building at 119 Avenue B since the beginning of the year.

“We’ve been at the site at least once a week and we’ve spoken to the engineers — they’re testing the bricks and mortar in the church to see the extent of the problems,” Torres said, adding, “This will probably be the last meeting of the committee — we’ve achieved what we set out to 10 years ago. But we’ll continue to monitor the site,” he said.

By the way, there's also a new Post Office box there too...the old one at that spot was fairly battered looking...I liked it.

Previous St. Brigid's coverage on EV Grieve here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Looking at the work that will "enable St. Brigid's Church to last another two hundred years"

Work continues on St. Brigid's on Avenue B at Eighth Street...Can't tell a whole lot from the outside...

Here's the latest message from Edwin Torres, chairman of the Committee to Save St. Brigid's:

"The entire foundation is being strengthened; this will enable St. Brigid's Church to last another two hundred years."

He also posted these photos of the work being done in the lower portion of the church...