Carroll Gardens

Patrick Charles Keely’s historic church and other architectural eye candy in non-landmarked Carroll Gardens

Eye On Real Estate

March 21, 2018 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Here's Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church in Carroll Gardens. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
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This church is so stunning that even the BQE can’t make it look bad.

In the early 1870s Patrick Charles Keely, AKA the Prince of American Catholic Architects, designed Gothic-style St. Stephen Church. It is located on the corner of Hicks and Summit streets in what’s now known as Carroll Gardens.

It’s bright red brick and has a tall, tall spire with a cross on top that was lit at night. Mariners in New York Harbor could see it.

In the intervening years, the congregation merged with another parish. Now it’s called Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church.

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Its Italian heritage comes to the fore in traditional celebrations such as a Good Friday procession through the streets of the neighborhood. Mourners carry a statue of crucified Christ in a glass-covered coffin and a statue of the Madonna with a sword piercing her heart.


When the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway was built, a deep trench was dug on the edge of Hicks Street — thisclose to Sacred Hearts and St. Stephen.

The best place to photograph the Instagram-worthy church is on the west side of the BQE trench. It’s easy to get there —right across from the church, there’s a pedestrian walkway over the highway.

From this vantage point on the far side of the BQE, homes and commercial buildings on other Hicks Street blocks have a picturesque look when afternoon sunlight hits them.

The neighborhood is full to the brim with beautiful 19th-century rowhouses. But only a small portion of the area has the status and legal protection of being landmarked.

The city-designated Carroll Gardens Historic District consists of the President Street and Carroll Street blocks between Smith and Hoyt streets.

The other day, we went to Carroll Gardens to visit a pair of historically significant buildings that neighborhood residents are trying to get landmarked: The Hans S. Christian Memorial Kindergarten at 236 President St. and the Brooklyn Deaconess Home and Training School of the Methodist Episcopal Church at 238 President St. See related story.

While we were there, we also snapped photos of other eye-catching homes and churches located outside the Carroll Gardens Historic District’s boundaries. These non-landmarked blocks looked eminently landmark-worthy.

Take a look.

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