Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Draped for Demolition

According to a recent New York Times article, Our Lady of Loreto Church in Brownsville, New York stands "draped for demolition." Shrouded in black steel netting, the church is ready for demolition. Like an innocent convict awaiting the electric chair, it's spiritual family fights to save it's life. To prove it's continued value to society it which it stands.

Maybe it's my age. Maybe it's the age I live in. Never have I been so aware of the transient nature of things. Never have I seen the loss of things that were supposed to be considered "permanent".

I have been on a architectural history kick lately, immersing myself in books like Tilt, the history of the construction of the Leaning Tower in Pisa, Italy; Basilica, the history of the construction of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Italy; Brunelleschi's Dome, the history of the construction of the dome on Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy. The amazing thing about reading about these buildings is that I can still EXPERIENCE them. I can re-connect with the past.

As John Ruskin put it ...

"Therefore, when we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for a present delight, nor for present use alone; let it be such work as our descendents will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, 'See!, this our fathers did for us.'"

This is why we fight so hard when our churches are being torn down.

I've asked this question before on this blog ... what happens to us as a society when the what intended to "last forever" doesn't?

Our Lady of Loreto Church | 124 Sackman Street | Brooklyn, NY 11233

PHOTO: Fred R. Conrad, The New York Times


  1. Kally ... if you are reading this ... THANKS for sending this story to me ! -- Chip

  2. It makes you sick to see these beautiful buildings destroyed.

  3. Chip, I just discovered your blog today and have read all the way through it. Despite my personal religious proclivities, I am deeply enamoured of church architecture and go out of my way to visit and photograph as many as I can. I'm particularly moved by abandoned churches and the beauty of their ruins. I hope you'll be continuing to update this site.