After a long, bitter battle, Bay Ridge's famous "Green Church" is gone. A demolition crew laid it low on Tuesday, Oct. 20, ending its 109-year-old life and robbing Bay Ridge of one it few true architectural treasures.
The green-serpentine stone-encased house of worship was formally called the Bay Ridge United Methodist Church. It was the congregation that wanted the building destroyed, sparking a long, tortured struggle with the surrounding community and preservationists. The church members insisted the decaying building was a burden, and would cost millions to repair—millions they didn't have. Activists suspected the structure was more sound than the congregation let on. The argument went back in forth for months. City Councilman Vincent Gentile led a push to preserve the church, but to no avail. The church and its pastor kept talking about needing to put their spiritual mission first, and leaving the building behind. I can see their point, but the decision still seems short-sighted. A community needs many things, including inspiring things to look at.
A smaller church will be built on the site—the corner of Fourth and Ovington avenues—along with the inevitable co-op building. My guess is no one will look at the high-rise and consider it evidence that God exists.
Below, a look at what was lost.