Generally Speaking: Will Bay Ridge’s historic Church of the Generals fade away?
City Councilmember Vinnie Gentile is quarterbacking a strong effort to try and get the New York City Landmarks Commission to designate the famous and historic Church of the Generals (St. John’s Episcopal Church) as a city landmark. The church, located on the corner of 99th Street (formerly Clark Street) and Fort Hamilton Parkway, has gained renown across the country due to the high-ranking military brass that over the past century and half have worshipped there.
In addition to General Robert E. Lee who was a vestryman, and General Thomas “Stonewall” Jacksonwho was baptized there, at least 15 generals have been parishioners. General Matthew Bunker Ridgway, who later served as supreme allied commander, Europe and was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan, was baptized there.
Other congregants have included General Walter Bedell Smith, chief of staff to General Dwight D. Eisenhower and later director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Air Force General Hubert Harmon, who became the first superintendent of the US Air Force Academy.
St. John’s Episcopal was the first church of any denomination to be organized (1834) in the Bay Ridge (Yellow Hook)-Fort Hamilton area. The property for the church, later to be called the Church of the Generals, was donated by the family of Denyse Denyse who owned large parcels of land near the Fort Hamilton Army Post.
On Sunday, September 7, at 4 p.m., Bishop Lawrence Provenzano, who heads the Long Island Diocese of the Episcopal Church, will preside over a final and farewell worship service commemorating the 180 years of ministry at the Church of the Generals.As an interesting sidelight, Bishop Provenzano is a Brooklyn native who was raised as a Roman Catholic in Bushwick, and was a former parish rector at another St. John’s Episcopal Church in Massachusetts.
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Tuesday, September is Primary Day. In the 46th A.D., there are Republican and Independence Party Primaries. Businessman and GOP stalwart Stamatis Lilikakis will be running against Republican District Leader Lucretia Regina-Potter. If Lilikakis loses the GOP contest, he will still be on the November 4 ballot on the Conservative Party line. He is also running in the Independence Party Primary against incumbent Democrat AssemblymemberAlec Brook-Krasny.
Remember Elias Weir? He was the Conservative Party candidate running against now-Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. Well, the perennial political candidate is back again, this time in the Democratic Primary in the 19th Senate District against incumbent Democrat Senator John Sampson and fellow adversaries DellSmitherman and Sean Henry.
Remember 9/11. State Senator Marty Golden will hold his annual September 11 candlelight ceremony on the American Veterans Memorial Pier at the foot of Bay Ridge Avenue (69th Street) at 7:30 p.m. It’s the 13th anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the airliner flying over Shanksville, Pennsylvania. On that fatal date, 2,996 people were killed.
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