Monday, December 18, 2006

Deck the Halls for St. Brigid's Church



Photo courtesy of Committee to Save St. Brigid




Christmas parties are always festive occasions, and Solas' shindig
for St. Brigid's proved no exception on Sunday. We received a
warm welcome from the parishioners who form the Committee to Save St. Brigid's. Carolers sang warmly, Kevin Smith played guitar and sang Irish and Irish-American songs. Food and drink flowed freely.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer was clear that his agenda includes not only St. Brigid's Church but neighborhood preservation, declaring, "What's at stake here is not just the church, but the community...let's not give up; let's not be pushed around, but continue to build this great coalition." He was not the only elected official we heard from; Rafael A. Escano, representing City Comptroller William Thompson, read Thompson's letter expressing solidarity with the commiunity. Thompson cited the Irish immigrants who built the church, declaring its signifigant place in history as a refuge for labor leaders and others, and called for landmarking the building. No decision has been rendered by the courts on the status of the embattled church, which faces Tompkins Square Park in the East Village.

The Committee is working on two fronts to save the church: legislative and landmarking. According to Scott J. Gastel of Sheinkopf Ltd, a member of the Committee, at least seven elected officials, including Councilwoman Rosie Mendez and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, have written letters requesting a hearing or fair review with regard to landmarking the Famine Church, designed by architect Patrick Keely and built by Irish immigrant shipbuilders in 1848 as an upside down boat.

An art auction followed in Solas' salon on the second floor, raising a great deal of money. Artwork was donated by local and not-so-local artists; some work came from Dublin artists. Edwin Torres, who heads the Committee to Save St. Brigid's, has a great future as an auctioneer, and we think we hear eBay calling!

Patricia Jameson-Sammartano
Culture Editor, www.thewildgeesetoday.com

http://onno.us/site/SaveStBrigid/
http://www.amny.com/news/local/am-oldnewyork1216,0,3306719.story?track=mostemailedlink

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