Cool picture, right? I thought so, too.
The United Methodist Church of Sheepshead Bay (3087 Ocean Avenue), as previously reported, has swapped contractors and gone forward with a temporarily plan to stabilize the steeples. They began putting in the supports on April 29, and now a series of steel wires sprout out of the steeple, distributing its weight around and holding it in place. Cement has been poured in the yard anchoring the entire system, and a support also leans against the side of the steeple’s base.
We’ve heard from some that they don’t think it’s a particularly elegant solution, but I think it looks kind of cool. And, in the end, it means the church is looking to keep the steeples. Let’s just hope they can raise the money they need to restore them properly and safeguard the structure.
The towering spires of the 142-year-old United Methodist Church of Sheepshead Bay have been granted a reprieve from being torn down, as church officials switch to a new contractor to handle the structural flaws.
Keep reading to find out more, and why challenges still loom.
A rendering of United Methodist Church without steeples, made by Valerie Landriscina.
When I sat down with the New York Times reporter to discuss the United Methodist Church of Sheepshead Bay (3087 Ocean Avenue) and its soon-to-expire steeples, he asked me one hundred different ways: how come no one is trying to stop it? If this were brownstone Brooklyn the community would be up in arms, he said. Why not here?
I gave him the long answer, which involved a lot of convoluted sentences and parenthetical statements about community fragmentation, civic decay and media penetration rates. It was an academic answer so unsuitable for quotation that he wrote me an e-mail asking the same question again – in three different ways – just so he could capture one line to push the narrative forward.
The simple answer? We could blame demographic shifts. Or we could blame weak civic institutions. Or the failure of local media to bridge cultural divides.
But at the end of the day, there’s one thing missing from the equation that’s needed before we can blame anything else: a leader.
Of all the media attention the issue got, and all the “Oh, that’s a pity” statements we heard from history buffs and preservationists, not a darn person tried to rally people, raise the money, and save the steeples.
Read about the emerging voice for preservation of the United Methodist Church, and find out how you can help.
After hearing the news that the Korean United Methodist Church of Sheepshead Bay would be tearing down its iconic steeples, Bay Improvement Group President Steve Barrison was dismayed. The 142-year-old church, at 3087 Ocean Avenue came, on the group’s radar once before, back when BIG’s membership numbers were strong and the group was attempting to preserve fixtures of neighborhood character before they got swept up in development and cultural shifts. Unfortunately, that tide of change came, and the group did not succeed in all of its efforts.
Now, he and his group are once again pleading for a local leader or benevolent patron to come forward and help preserve the building’s steeples. Barrison wrote the following statement after reading about the church’s plans on Sheepshead Bites:
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Heaven help us, but the charming steeples of Sheepshead Bay’s oldest standing church, at 142 years old, will soon be plucked from Sheepshead Bay’s skyline.
Officials at the Ben Car Building Corp. – the contractors hired to remove the twin spires comprising part of the Korean United Methodist Church of Sheepshead Bay at 3087 Ocean Avenue – say they’re just sorting through some last minute paper work, but are ready to send in the wrecking crew in just a few days.
Rev. Jay Kyung Kim, the congregation’s pastor, told Sheepshead Bites that the aged steeples have taken a toll, and even the naked eye can see that they’re leaning away from the building. Kim said the stress is threatening to tear apart the rest of the church, as massive cracks on the interior illustrate.
Keep reading for what the pastor has to say about the project, the construction plans, and the building’s history.
The United Methodist Church of Sheepshead Bay (3087 Ocean Avenue) is holding a “giant” flea market this Saturday, December 11.
From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., vendors will pack into two floors of the historic church to sell “gifts and bargains for one and all.”
For more information, contact (646) 361-9624.
Lisanne Anderson, whose flickr page catalogs change and development in Sheepshead Bay, shot this photo of the oldest existing church in the area, built in 1869.
I can’t help but love the architecture. They remodeled it in 1925 without ruining its charm. And since most of the buildings east of the church are two or three story late 19th century structures there’s a lot of visible sky.
Recently they did some reconstruction which brought back much of the beauty of the 1925 remodeling. Considering that a few years later the New York Conference was considering closing the church they have made an amazing comeback.