Sometimes, too often, I'm walking along the streets to be struck by the shock of something vanished or replaced. "When did that happen?" I find myself asking. It's a question I asked recently when walking by the Washington Square United Methodist Church on West 4th Street to find a chain across its steps and the sign:
No Loitering Please
"Novare" is the new name for this building. It's a luxury condo development. You might not notice if it weren't for that sign.
Sold and shuttered to its congregation in 2005, the 145-year-old church had a long history of social action and justice, dating back to the Vietnam War when it got the moniker "Peace Church." It was the first home to the Harvey Milk School for gay and lesbian youth, and gave shelter and space to the Black Panthers, the Gay Men's Health Crisis, Dykes Against Racism Everywhere, many art and performance groups, and community housing services. It undoubtedly impacted the lives of countless people.
Now it gives shelter to 8 private owners.
As for the church's ousted congregation, they moved over to the NYU Catholic Center for their worship. Of course, NYU just demolished that one.