Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Not Under the Gowanus, Part 2
I have driven the roadways around this metropolis for decades and, like anyone else who drives highways repeatedly, there are a myriad of familiar structures, most of which one has never actually visited. Over the years, a number of buildings have intrigued me, such as the enigmatic property with illuminated triangular trusses as seen from the Manhattan Bridge. This rooftop haunted me for decades until if finally occurred to me: why not get off the roadway one day, investigate and see what this landmark actually is about? You can find the mystery solved here.
The landscape as seen from the Gowanus Expressway (see Part 1 here) is generally of little interest, much of it commercial/industrial. However, as it runs through Greenwood Heights, Brooklyn, a beautiful green trimmed church spire makes its presence known. As I go fleeting by, a recurring thought to visit someday fleets by as well. I finally decided to bring these fleeting thoughts to an end after a recent excursion to nearby Green-Wood Cemetery, when I paid the church a visit.
Regardless of how significant a structure turns out to be, this type of exploration provides me with the necessary closure of a long-seated curiosity. As a side benefit, the experience also provides a resource which can be used when traveling with others to identify the landmark - wielding knowledge that you are not only familiar with the structure but also have visited said structure confers credibility that you know New York City. (Tip: Recount the most extraordinary details that you can remember in a nonplussed manner to be seen as a smug New Yorker. This insures that in the future, your authority will not be questioned.)
The church in question is Our Lady Of Czestochowa / St Casimir located at 183 25th Street in Brooklyn. The property spans the width of a city block, from 25th to 24th Street. I circumnavigated the block and was impressed by the gothic structure - so distinctive, contrasting against nondescript surroundings. In a previous post, I told of how one can see the spire of Czestochowa from the automobile graveyard and that good things are often found just around the corner, but Not Under the Gowanus :)
About the Church: The parish of Our Lady of Czestochowa Church was established in 1896 to serve Polish Catholics. A frame church was built on 24th Street but was destroyed by fire in 1904. On July 17 of the same year, construction began for the present church, designed in Gothic style and built with Belleville gray stone and brick. The steeple rises 175 feet, flanked by shorter towers on each corner. In 1980, the parish of St. Casimir's was merged into Our Lady of Czestochowa.
Related Posts: Down to the Cellular Level, Pyramid Power, Eldridge Street, Gothic Night, Little Church Around the Corner