{nyc} st. ann’s

September 16, 2015

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Recently, we were in New York City. I noticed this church, with steeple atop and impressive front entrance. However, as we moved closer, it didn’t look quite right.

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Where is the rest of the church building? Behind it, was a modern looking high-rise, with an entrance canopy shouting out “New York University”. Maybe this was NYU’s original front gate?

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Walking between the old structure and the new high-rise, it became clear the original building was sliced away, evident by the cut surface, leaving only the front façade.

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Some research revealed that this front façade was actually St. Ann’s Church, and it had an interesting history.

There was some dispute whether St. Ann’s was originally built by Baptists or Episcopalians, in 1847. It was subsequently renovated into a synagogue, the Temple Emanu-El. Purchased by the Catholic Church, and dedicated as St. Ann’s in 1871. In its glory days, it had one of the wealthiest congregations. In 1983, it was re-established as St. Ann’s Armenian Rite Catholic Cathedral. 2003, the Archdiocese of New York closed St. Ann’s permanently. By 2005, the property was sold to a developer for $15 million. Later that year, NYU announced plans for a 26-story dormitory. Despite protest, historical preservation society appeal, and NYU promise of an integrated design, St Ann’s was demolished. The front façade was left free-standing. There was no integration with NYU’s Founders Hall dorm.

I am sure it’s a travesty and eye sore for some. But, one could argue it does serve some purposes. It did pique the curiosity of tourists, like me.

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One Response to “{nyc} st. ann’s”

  1. annalice said

    i saw this when i went to visit junie and i saw a bunch of people staring at it too!

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