Local activists are continuing their fight to save Park Church (129 Russell St.) in light of current plans to sell to developers who will in turn demolish the church and turn it into condos.
This Thursday, June 30 at 6 p.m., concerned neighbors, Park Church advocates, and local electeds are coming together in hopes of rallying the community to pressure Attorney General Letitia James to block the sale of the church due to the short-sightedness of said plans.
While the church’s owner, the Metropolitan New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (MNYS), has no interest in saving the church as it is, there is still hope for the opportunity to turn it into a viable, multi-use community space in Greenpoint with a counter-offer, though the price tag will be high, particularly given the current real estate market.
“Saving this remarkable space is a transformative opportunity for a community reeling from the effects of hyper-development and privatization,” local resident Jamie Hook expressed. “And while the odds may be long, isn’t that the case with every moonshot? We choose to do this because it is hard.”
For over 100 years, the church has provided an essential home not just for its Lutheran congregation, but for a range of community organizations, from youth music programs of Teacup Music and dance parties by No Lights, No Lycra to homeless services programs administered by Breaking Ground.
“As a purpose-built house of assembly, located alongside one of Greenpoint’s few parks, the Park Church represents our neighborhood’s last, best hope for future public community space,” notes local activist and community leader Concetta Abbate. “Now, the white-hot pace of North Brooklyn real estate threatens to pry this exceptional asset from the public’s grasp. We can’t let that happen!”
On June 18, Park Church Coop hosted an all-day remembrance party featuring live music, a community dinner, dance party, and more. But while the church’s devotees are mourning what once was, they remain hopeful that — with action and collective support — the future still looks bright.
“We are confident that something can be done to reset the narrative on this vital public amenity — but we need the power of our whole community to get behind one vision,” Mike Nowatarski, who spearheaded efforts to preserve the church this past spring, said.