Park Slope

Landmark status for St. Augustine’s Church, and a whole swath of Park Slope

April 12, 2016 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Here's a glimpse of St. Augustine's Roman Catholic Church in Park Slope. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
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Sing Choirs Of Angels!

St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church is now officially recognized as a historic city site.

It happened in a circuitous way.

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On Tuesday, the city Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted unanimously to designate a swath of Park Slope as a historic district — and the church sometimes called “the Cathedral of Park Slope” was included in that territory.

The vote took place at a public meeting at the LPC’s Lower Manhattan headquarters.

The area that was landmarked is called the Park Slope Historic District Extension II. It is mostly north and west of the original Park Slope Historic District, which was landmarked four decades ago.

The stunning church and rectory complex at 49 Sterling Place was also on the LPC’s Tuesday morning calendar — for consideration as an individual city landmark.

Commissioners voted unanimously to remove the church from their calendar right after they voted to landmark the neighborhood in which it’s located.

In a presentation prior to the voting, a preservation agency staffer said that the designation of Park Slope Historic District Extension II would give the Gothic Revival-style church the same legal protection that it would have received had it been deemed an individual landmark.

City landmarks cannot be demolished without the LPC’s permission. The agency’s approval is required for alterations to landmarks’ exteriors and the grounds on which they are situated.  

St. Augustine’s church and rectory were built in 1888. They were designed by Brooklyn’s Parfitt Brothers, important architects of that era who were asked to submit designs for Upper Manhattan’s famed Cathedral of Saint John the Divine.

St. Augustine’s second address is 130 Sixth Ave.

By including St. Augustine’s in a landmarked district, the LPC took a stance against the wishes of the Diocese of Brooklyn.

A statement from a lawyer for the Diocese that’s in an LPC research file indicates that the religious organization has opposed the designation of St. Augustine’s since it was first calendared in 1966.

On Tuesday, LPC chair Meenakshi Srinivasan called the church “a very handsome anchor on Sixth Avenue” for the historic district extension.

St. Augustine’s was one of the numerous candidates for individual landmark status on the LPC’s  Tuesday calendar from the agency’s Backlog95 initiative.

These 95 sites, located throughout the city, had sat in limbo on the commission’s landmarking calendar for up to 50 years.

The agency has been working since last year to deal with the backlog, which included seven Brooklyn properties.


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