Wednesday, May 21, 2008

St. Brigid's Saved!

Good news! St. Brigid's Church on Ave B has been saved by an anonymous donor. Maybe there is hope in Mudville after all. Rob Hollander, of Save the LES, sent the news and he is lining up interviews and TV cameras will be there today in front of the church. City Room has more info on the deal. I wonder, could the donor be Matt Dillon? That would be kinda hot. Especially if he shouted, "Do it for Johnny!" before writing the check.

Photo by William Alatriste

I've long loved the church because it is the butter-yellow beauty that inspired Frank O'Hara's Hymns of St. Bridget, as in:

"How funny you are today New York
like Ginger Rogers in Swingtime
and St. Bridget's steeple leaning a little to the left..."
--from Steps

(It had steeples until the 1960s.)

photo by Bob Arihood: see his great pics here

And here is another from Frank:

Hymn to St. Bridget’s Steeple

It is to you, bending limp and ridiculous, on Ninth
Street, that I turn. colder than usual after a summer
of lime and smoke. I think you are the first of Ireland’s
saints, or the last, it doesn’t matter you are my dream
of an actual winter with your icicle hat and your arms
which somehow seem square like something I couldn’t see but
guessed at in the last Reinhardt I looked at. It wasn’t
black, it was red, like New York if you’re waste and
contained, or maybe maroon, like my heart which I imagine
inside me, although it looks black to you, St. Bridget,
although it is quiet and in need of filling. Please tell me
what it means “to pump,” as if I were a well
growing upwards and into a steeple which someone who cares
names my own, for always to face the dullest wind,
and you should know, St. Bridget.


Anonymous said...

Truly amazing. Have to give so much credit to the Save St. Brigid's committee....without them, the church likely would have been torn down years back...Best news I've heard about the neighborhhod in a long time.

Anonymous said...

yes--it's true--thank God!!God's law is stronger than man's!

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful day in the EV!

Anonymous said...

This isn't Frank O'Hara, but in the musical "Mame", doesn't the nanny, Agnes Gooch, sing: "St. Brigid (Bridget?) Deliver Us From Beekman Place" at the show's beginning?

Anonymous said...

I am so thrilled. I went to the benefit at Webster Hall; the documentary shown was incredibly moving. Built by famine Irish, the church was filled with Gaelic iconography, which I hope is put back the way it was. Screw the penny pinchers of the NY Diocese!

JakeGould said...

This is awesome news! But what I don't understand about the Archdiocese closing and destroying these places is why?

I'm a Brooklyn Jew-boy, so correct me—and forgive me—if I'm wrong. But from my experience the main way the Catholic Church markets itself is simply by the existence of the physical churches. They are quite amazing pieces of architecture.

So if church attendance is down—again, correct me if I am wrong—then why get rid of a way to get people into the church?

Whatever. Nice to see not everything in the East Village is turning into an ATM kiosk or a Pinkberry?

Anonymous said...

One more reason to love Matt Dillon.

Anonymous said...

I am so happy to hear this news! I used to live and work in the East Village. I often walked by St. Brigid's, or sat on the steps eating my lunch and watching the passersby, comforted by the church's butter-yellow color, simplicity, and solidity.

Anonymous said...

I'm just doing some research here in NYC to find the school my great grandmother attended in 1885 called "St. Bridget's Academy" on 10th street. I think I found the church that goes with the school Any information or leads any of you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Does anyone know when the school was closed?