08 January 2008

A Kingly Address

South Brooklyn has lost many churches to the ravenous condo monster over the past decade or so. But perhaps none was so heartbreaking as the Norwegian Seaman's Church, which stood (well, stands) at the northwest corner of Clinton and First Place.

Back when South Brooklyn had a heavy Scandinavian population, this was the community's center of gravity. A huge, hulking mix of Gothic, Romanesque and Renaissance Revival elements, it was built in 1865 as the Westminster Presbyterian Church. When the Norwegians took over, a large Norwegian style pulpit was installed and an old anchor was placed on the lawn. About a half century ago, during one of the King of Norway's rare visits to America, this was the only stop he made in New York City. It was that important to the New York Norwegian population. It's not landmarked. But, then, so much in Carroll Gardens isn't.

The Norwegians, or what's left of them in Brooklyn, are in Bay Ridge now. But the King of Norway just might be able to afford one of the apartments in their former house of worship.


Anonymous said...

My parenst were married there, I would love to see it one day. My Mom said the ceremony was in Norwegian, and she didn't understand much of what was said! Brooklyn was my Dad's 1st home in NY after he "jumped ship" (or so he said)and he didn't have to learn English for a looong time, there were so many Norwegians around. cool.

btjomstol said...

I would love to visit one day, my parents were married there and the ceremony was in Norwegian, my Mom didn't understand most of it!