Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Roman Polanski

It's funny how in the days of Obama where the rich are routinely singled out and excoriated it's OK that Polanski bought off his victim and tried to escape the legal ramifications of what he did and the Hollywood community is fine with that. But you know what? I'm alright with all this because now Woody Allen's come out in support of Polanski. Actually, now I have to go wash after reading that sentence back to myself.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Other Lutherans

St. John's Lutheran - 216 Jewett Avenue - Port Richmond

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St. John's Lutheran, an old German congregation in an old Episcopal church in Port Richmond, is a member of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Of the two major Lutheran bodies, it is the more conservative and smaller. I've mentioned before that it's relationship with the larger, liberal Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is like the Sharks and the Jets. The only time I've been in the church was at the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. P. back in 1988. It's got a very cool little cemetery out back.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

More Lutherans

St. Paul's - St. Luke's Lutheran Church (formerly Wasa Lutheran) - 186 Decker Ave - Port Richmond

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Originally founded as Vasa Lutheran by Swedes in 1908, this was the church of my mother's family. One of her sisters is still very active in the congregation.
In 1971, the renamed St. Luke's Church merged with the dwindling St. Paul's Church (originally a German congregation) from over on Cary Avenue in West New Brighton creating the new and improved St. Paul's - St. Luke's Lutheran Church.

The old, sold, and condemned St. Paul's Lutheran Church - Cary Ave. and Caroline St. - West New Brighton

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Our Savior Lutheran Church - 557 Bard Avenue - West New Brighton

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My mother always told me how Our Savior existed only as a basement through the early sixties. It had relocated from that old Scandinavian stronghold, Port Richmond, to Forest and Bard Avenues and could only afford to excavate the present basement of the church and throw a flat roof over that. Eventually the congregation raised enough money and built the present modern and, inside at least, surprisingly beautiful sanctuary and chapel. Not surprisingly, the Norwegian heritage of the congregation is reflected in the clean Scandinavian modern wood work throughout the church.
The church parsonage (not pictured) is one of the several remaining stone houses in the area built by the opthamologist Samuel MacKenzie Elliot in the mid 19th century.

The original Our Savior Lutheran was located on Nicholas and Hatfield Avenues. Now it's a Moose Lodge.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Church Project Lite

So I'm too lazy/too overwhelmed/too tired, or just too something indefinable to carry out the Church Project the way I originally intended to. So...
So, what I'll do is just get googlemap shots and the occasional old timey picture of the North Shore churches and some information about them.
I'll do it by denomination, starting with my home court, the Lutheran churches.


Trinity Evangelical Lutheran - 309 Saint Pauls Ave - Stapleton

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My old church and elementary school. Founded by Germans back in the nineteenth century, Trinity really took off in the early twentieth century under the stewardship of Pastor Fredrick Sutter. In the google picture you can see the damage to the steeple caused by the tornado that ravaged the North Shore 2 years ago.

Zion Lutheran - 505 Watchogue Road, Westerleigh

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The group that founded Zion Lutheran started as an adult Norwegian Sunday school class in a no longer standing building in Port Richmond. At some point they collected enough money and built a beautiful neo-Gothic church on Bennett Street alongside Port Richmond Park. In the sixties they relocated to Westerleigh and built the kind of ugly modern church they still occupy on Watchogue and Willowbrook Roads.

I started with Trinity and Zion because they represent the two most active and vibrant Lutheran congregations remaining on Staten Island. They also still have a strong sense of their initial ethnic origins. Trinity was still holding German services in the early eighties.

They also represent two distinct wings of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Trinity came from money (particularly the Stapleton beer barons of the nineteenth century) and Zion from working class poverty. Today Trinity maintains a much more ritual filled worship service and Zion's is more stripped down.

The great wave of Lutheranism that once represented Germans, Norwegians and Swedes in numerous churches has receded with the demographic changes across the Island as well as the general collapse of the mainline denominations.

I want one. That's all.

THIS is what I want for Christmas.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Some google shots of churches.

I'm in a lousy mood (someone I haven't spoken to in a while and didn't know was sick died) and doing this makes me feel a little better. I went for the grand old style churches for this one. Give me a house of worship that doesn't make me feel like I'm in a warehouse or convention center anytime. I like my churches to be special and extraordinary and NOT make me feel like I could physically be anywhere other than a church.

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St. Peter's R.C. - New Brighton

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Trinity Evangelical Lutheran - Stapleton

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Christ Church (Epsicopalian) - New Brighton

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Church of the Immaculate Conception R.C. - Stapleton

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St. Paul's Episcopal Church - Stapleton

Friday, September 04, 2009

It's just like the Acropolis. Really.

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Definitely one of my favorite homes on Staten Island. While the house itself is nothing extraordinary, the sculpture collection makes this place special.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Port Richmond - land of opportunities

In honor of Mr. and Mrs. Lawgiver's Port Richmond real estate undertaking, here's some shots of Port Richmond and its surrounding areas. It really is still a beautiful neighborhood, despite the economic and white flight that hammered it in the seventies and eighties. Sure parts of the area are pretty sketchy but even those spots have some wonderful buildings.

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Trantor and Hooker

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Richmond Terrace and Heberton Railroad Depot

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The Ritz Theater

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Again - The Ritz

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Sharpe and Grove Train Station

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Faber and Richmond Terrace

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Dr. Johnson's House - Albion and Heberton