The New York Landmarks Conservancy has named The Congregation Temple Emanu-El in Port Richmond and The Free Magyar Reformed Church in Charleston, both Staten Island houses of worship, as part of its fourth annual “Sacred Sites Open House Weekend.” The event runs this weekend May 17 to 18 and invites visitors to take a look inside the historic and artistically pleasing places of worship. Added The Staten Island Advance: “The program opens the doors for local churches and other culturally important religious institutions throughout the city and state in an effort to introduce people to the remarkable art and architecture they would not normally have the opportunity to explore.”
“Religious institutions are at the heart of every community and a place where previous immigrant groups have made their impact, new immigrants gather to share their cultural heritage and traditions, and future generations will thrive. Nowhere in the United States is this better demonstrated than right here in New York with its rich diversity of religions and ecclesiastical buildings," says Peg Breen, president of the Landmarks Conservancy to The Advance. "The Open House Weekend is a perfect opportunity to view the magnificent religious art and architecture of these sacred sites and truly be a tourist in your own town, while learning about the histories of congregations present and past." For more on this article visit http://www.silive.com.
“Built in 1883, the Free Magyar Reformed Church was designed in the Carpenter Gothic style, representative of the many small wood-framed churches built by immigrants in the villages and towns of Staten Island during the 19th century. Originally St. Peter's German Evangelical Reformed Church of Kreischerville, the church served primarily German immigrants. By 1915, a Hungarian congregation had begun meeting regularly in St. Peter's, eventually purchasing and rededicating the building for their use in 1919 under the current name,” added The Advance.
This year's principal sponsor is EverGreene Architectural Arts, one of the country's premier full-service companies in the restoration of historic religious buildings. For more information about this event and a complete list of participating sites visit http://www.nylandmarks.org.
What is The New York Landmarks Conservancy?
The organization, according to a statement by the organization has led the effort to preserve and protect New York City’s architectural legacy for over 40 years. Since its founding, the Conservancy has loaned and granted more than $40 million, which has leveraged more than $1 billion in 1,550 restoration projects throughout New York, revitalizing communities, providing economic stimulus and supporting local jobs. The Conservancy has also offered countless hours of pro bono technical advice to building owners, both nonprofit organizations and individuals. The Conservancy’s work has saved more than a thousand buildings across the City and State, protecting New York’s distinctive architectural heritage for residents and visitors alike today, and for future generations.
Places of worship included in this year’s open house throughout New York City includes The Church of St. Brigid—St. Emeric in the Lower East Side, Manhattan which was completed in 1848 as St. Brigid’s Church for the Irish-immigrant community centered on the East River dockyards,’ adds The New York Landmarks organization.
The Museum at Eldridge Street, located in the Eldridge Street Synagogue,also on the Lower East Side, Manhattan, opened in 1887 in time for the Jewish High Holidays. “The building was designed by the architects Francis William and Peter Herter, German Catholic immigrants” added the organization statement. “It was the first time that Jews from Eastern Europe had built a synagogue in the United States. The synagogue was a proud declaration of newly-found religious freedom for its immigrant founders and a symbol of their economic aspirations. With its soaring 50-foot ceiling and exuberant Moorish-style interior, Eldridge Street provided an inspiring contrast to the crowded tenements, factories and shops of the Lower East Side. The Synagogue at Eldridge Street was designated a New York City Landmark in 1980 and a National Historic Landmark in 1996.”
The Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in Brooklyn was established in 1850 to serve Irish immigrants. “The current church building replaced an earlier church on the site dating to 1861, was designed by local German-American architect Francis J. Berlenbach, Jr. and constructed in 1912-14. The cream-colored neo-Renaissance brick and terra cotta church features an arcaded entrance portico with granite columns and a Guastavino tile ceiling. The church features windows designed by Locke Decorating Co., a Brooklyn firm active from 1890-1920,” added NY Landmarks. “The church interior, one of the largest in the Diocese, with a seating capacity of 1,500, retains many of its original features, including a barrel-vaulted and paneled ceiling, marble columns and wainscoting, a marble communion rail and pulpit, mosaic floors, oak pews and a metal light fixture. Throughout its long history, the church has welcomed immigrants from Ireland, Italy and later the Caribbean and Latin America. The current congregation includes many members from Mexico.”
St. Anselm’s Church in The Bronx was established in 1891. “It was modeled after the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, and constructed in 1918 to the designs of Anton Kloster and Gustave Steinback. Many of the interior decorations were painted by Benedictine monks. The brick building has an arcaded entry porch with two granite columns supporting three arches. The porch and the façade have courses of brightly colored mosaic and painted tiles. The ceiling of the porch has three Guastavino vaults. Walking into church has been described like walking into a jewel box,” added The NY Conservancy.
St. Joan of Arc Parish in Jackson Heights, Queens, was founded in 1920 and named for the then recently canonized Joan of Arc. In 1928, architects Lehman and Murphy designed a Gothic-revival structure modeled after the Nancy Cathedral in France, of which St. Joan is the patron saint. Only the ground floor of this design was completed,” added The NY Consevancy in its statement. “In 1942, architect W.A. Schlusing revised plans for a Romanesque Revival-style church. The church has steeply pitched gables, a large polygonal apse and a tower at the rear. Details include arcaded windows, masonry trim and mosaics over the doors and at the flanking entrances.’"
The Conservancy’s Sacred Sites program is the only statewide program in the country providing financial and technical assistance for the restoration of culturally significant religious properties. Since 1986, the program has disbursed grants of more than $8 million to more than 700 congregations regardless of denominations, added the cultural organization. Staten Islanders interested in historic landmarks are welcome to view the open house and see for themselves what makes these religious buildings architectural gems. Staten Island art historians, see for yourself what makes these places of worship worth preserving.