Brooklyn Boro

This weekend: 14 “Sacred Sites” open their doors to history buffs

May 16, 2019 Francesca Norsen Tate

Fourteen Brooklyn houses of worship will participate in the ninth annual New York Landmarks Conservancy’s “Sacred Sites Open House” during this weekend, May 18-19.

The statewide event offers religion, history and architecture buffs the opportunity to explore many of New York’s world-class houses of worship. This year’s theme, “Medieval to Modern: Celebrating New York’s Religious Art and Architecture,” highlights a range of historical periods, faith traditions and styles of religious architecture found in communities throughout New York State.

Visitors can get a glimpse inside impressive sanctuaries to view artistic and historical treasures, as congregations showcase their buildings and traditions via lectures, musical performances and special guided tours.

Here’s what you can check out our borough. Brooklyn may have once been nicknamed the City of Churches, but this roundup makes clear that its faith traditions extend far beyond the Christian faith.

Moslem Mosque Inc.

Image via Google Maps

Moslem Mosque Inc. will offer visitors a tour of the oldest mosque in New York City, dating back to 1931. The tour, on May 18, begins at 12:45 p.m. An oral history party follows at 2 p.m. with a presentation, discussion and refreshments, with Liz Strong of the Brooklyn Historical Society. The mosque is reported to have been established by Lithuanian Tatars and the building has an interesting history.

106 Powers St., in Williamsburg near Greenpoint
Tour on May 18 at 2:45 p.m.

Old First Reformed Church

Image via Google Maps

Old First Reformed Church will be open Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 19, 3-6 p.m. for self-guided tours of the newly restored and reopened sanctuary, featuring original stenciled wall and ceiling finishes and magnificent Tiffany studios, William Willet and Otto Heignigke stained glass. The sanctuary had been closed since 2011 in order to repair the decorative coffered ceiling that had begun to fail. The first official reopening service took place on Easter Sunday. In addition, on May 19, tour participants can enjoy a free “Celebration of Arts at Old First” from 3-6 p.m. with dedications, vocal, instrumental and dance performances to celebrate the reopening of the sanctuary and the return of a unique and historic performing arts and events space.

729 Carroll St., Park Slope
Open Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 19, 3-6 p.m. for self-guided tours

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St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church

Image via Google Maps

The church (formerly Church of the Holy Trinity) is the most ambitious building designed by Minard Lafever and the masterwork of his career. At its completion, it was the largest church in Brooklyn. The church was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987.

The windows of St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church were executed by William Jay Bolton between 1845 and 1848, and are the first complete set of figural stained-glass windows made in North America. The church was designated a pro-Cathedral in 2018 and was the original cathedral see of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island when it was first established in 1868.

157 Montague St., Brooklyn Heights
Open to view on Sunday, May 19, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 

The Union Church of Bay Ridge

Image via Google Maps

7915 Ridge Blvd., Bay Ridge
Open Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and Sunday, May 19, noon-3 p.m.

Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church

Image via Google Maps

85 South Oxford St., Clinton Hill
Open Sunday, May 19, 1-4 p.m. for a book sale, guided tours and organ demonstration.

Grace Church Brooklyn Heights

Image via Google Maps

Guided tours will be offered of this Gothic Revival church built by architect Richard Upjohn in 1847.

254 Hicks St., Brooklyn Heights
Open Sunday, May 19, 1-4 p.m.

Our Lady of Lebanon Catholic Maronite Cathedral

Image via Google Maps

113 Remsen St., Brooklyn Heights
Open Saturday, May 18, 9:45 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday, May 19, 1-4 p.m.

New Utrecht Reformed Church

Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas

Visitors can enjoy a book sale, guided tours and food tastings. The Parish House, built in 1892, will also be available for viewing.

8301 18th Ave., Bensonhurst
Open on Saturday, May 18, 2:00-5 p.m. 

Beth Shalom v’Emeth Reform Temple

Image via Google Maps

The temple will host a lecture from noon to 2 p.m. on the history of the congregation, including “original” 1911 documents and artifacts.

83 Marlborough Rd., Prospect Park South
Open Sunday, May 19, 11 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Salem Gospel Tabernacle

Image via Google Maps

Also known as the Sunset Park Community Church.

5324 Fourth Ave., Sunset Park
Open Saturday, May 18, 2-4 p.m.

St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church

Eagle file photo by Noah Goldberg

433 Sackett St., Gowanus
Open Saturday, May 18, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and Sunday, May 19, 1-5 p.m.

Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church

Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church
Image via Google Maps

230 Decatur St., Bedford-Stuyvesant
Open Sunday, May 19, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Saint John’s Episcopal Church

Saint John’s Episcopal Church
Image via Google Maps

139 St. Johns Place, Park Slope
Open Saturday, May 18, 12-4 p.m.

Plymouth Church

Plymouth Church
Image via Google Maps

75 Hicks St., Brooklyn Heights
Open Saturday, May 18 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

To register for pre-booked tours and to view a digital guide of all sacred sites participating in the Landmarks Conservancy’s Open House, visit the event website.

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