There is no question that it’s sad to think that Bay Ridge United Methodist’s final Mass will soon be said by a wrecking ball. It’s a beautiful building, and it’s no wonder so many people fought to save it.
Or is it? Sometimes I remind myself of that old Vietnam-era query, “What are we fighting for?”
Won’t anyone stand up for progress any more? Won’t anyone stand up and say that the neighborhood needs more housing?
Turns out, someone is: New York City Libertarian Party President Jim Lesczynski.
“If developers were simply freed from building regulations, and allowed to build as high as they would be willing to invest, there would be enough housing for anyone who wanted to live here, and then some,” he said.
Lesczynski has a point: The reason rents are so high in Bay Ridge is because too many people want to live in too little space. But the sky is limitless, Lesczynski said, “even in Bay Ridge.”
I’m not sure I agree that we should turn the neighborhood over to the developers (unless we eliminate all the subsidies they get, I suppose!), but I do agree with his larger point: You can’t stop progress.
I doubt anyone started a movement when the Ovington Family sold the farm on which the church sits. Like the church, it had been around for many generations and, presumably, many did not want to see it plowed under.
Imagine all the families that would never have had the opportunity to live in Bay Ridge if that farm was never paved over? Imagine all the new families that will have the chance to move to Ovington and Fourth avenues once the church gives way to condos.
Not everyone wants to imagine that.
“When you see these pieces of familiarity that have been part of your surroundings, you feel your whole life crumbling away,” said Victoria Hofmo, president of the Bay Ridge Conservancy. “It feels like a part of me is being demolished by that wrecking ball.”
I can understand that. I wish my hometown would have always stayed as I remembered it, but I understand that this is an unreasonable expectation.
An aide to Councilman Vince Gentile seemed genuinely confused that anyone would question the “why” of saving the Green Church.
“The Green Church?” said spokesman Eric Kuo. “Have you ever walked by that church? It is absolutely beautiful.”
I had walked by the church many times, but maybe I never took the time to really notice it, so on Monday I wandered over yet again and tried to appreciate the church.
I hate to say it, but I was not converted. I thought of all the new condos, and I thought about how my wife and I are trying to buy something, but can’t because the prices are in the stratosphere.
Now I wait for the lighting bolt.
Breaking meeting: A group of local preservationists will discuss the Methodist Church sale at an emergency meeting on Monday, March 12, at 7:30 pm at PS 170 (Sixth Avenue and 72nd Street). Call Victoria Hofmo at (718) 748-5950 for information. …
Medicare, Medican or Medican’t? Councilman Vince Gentile (D-Bay Ridge) is inviting neighbors to an information session on Medicare on March 21, at 2 pm at the Shore Hill Senior Center. Call Gentile’s office at (718) 748-5200 to RSVP. …
The Bay Ridge Community Council is holding an amateur-only photo contest. All entries must be in by March 19 and an award ceremony will be held on March 27. For more information call (718) 748-7249. Pictures of KFC rats will not be accepted. …
Dunk Full of Nuts? Chock Full of Nuts on Third Avenue at 79th Street may be renamed Chock Full of Dunkin after one astute Yellow Hooker tipster discovered Dunkin Donuts pastries and cookies being sold there. When asked, the employees at the new coffee shop just smiled and nodded. …
Kali Browne has referred to her work to preserve thrift stores in Bay Ridge as “quite likely a fool’s errand,” and Yellow Hooker isn’t one to disagree. But the news that St. Vincent’s Thrift Shop on Fifth Avenue and 62nd Street will soon be moving to Queens may be reason enough to pay her a visit online at petitionspot.com. …
Nice donation: Caroline Erskine was honored last month for giving $2.1 million to Lutheran Healthcare. …
Consider this a sign of the Apocalypse: State Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) and Councilman Gentile sent out a joint press release for the first time since Yellow Hooker could remember. The issue that made these longtime cats and dogs kiss? The ongoing fight to get Bay Imaging to return patient records. In a related story: Palestine and Israel are merging to form Israeltine. …
Gentile’s “Hit the Books” tour will be at New Utrecht library, at 1743 86th St., from 1:30 to 5:30 pm on March 22. Let us all hope that the Councilman’s reading voice is better than his singing voice (see story below right).
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