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Church's bell tower to topple last
News Times ^ | April 16, 2013 | Kenneth C. Crowe II

Posted on 04/18/2013 2:05:29 PM PDT by NYer


The landmark 137-foot-tall bell tower will be the last piece of St. Patrick's Church to fall, according to developers.

Before that happens, perhaps before the end of the week, demolition crews from Dan's Hauling and Demo will take apart the rest of the church on 19th Street.

The 179,000-pound excavator at the building's northeast corner will extend its 112-foot-long arm to peel off the copper roof.

"We'll try to take off the cross on the north side," Steve Powers, vice president of Nigro Companies, said.

The former church's brick walls will be pushed in on themselves.

"The tower will probably be the last remaining part of the building," Powers said.

The tower is expected to be pulled back onto the collapsed building.

"Safety is important," Powers said. Crews are clearing the 3.5-acre site of the church, rectory, school and six residences to erect a 40,200-square-foot Price Chopper and two smaller commercial buildings.

The utilities to the site were disconnected and the church's loggia, or enclosed porch, steps, power plant and the brick hallway connecting the church and plant have been demolished.

On Monday, the plaques commemorating the donors who gave money to build the church were removed from the entrance. The plaques will go to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, Powers said. The church opened July 4, 1889.

Under plans discussed Friday with the city, Fifth Avenue from 19th to 23rd Street will be closed during demolition. Trucks will enter from 23rd Street to go to the site's east boundary on Fifth Avenue to pick up debris and will exit from Fifth Avenue and head east on 19th Street when hauling away the debris.

TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; Worship
KEYWORDS: churchclosings
From Biz Journals -

The sanctuary inside St. Patrick’s Church in Watervliet, NY is visible from the street as crane operators today continued to claw away chunks of the historic building.

The 137-foot-tall bell tower will be the last section torn down.

Demolition of the church will be followed by razing the rectory, school and rowhouses on 23rd Street, said Steve Powers, vice president at Nigro Cos. in Albany.

The site should be cleared by mid-June. Price Chopper will then start building a new supermarket.

Some of the church bricks will be incorporated into a decorative wall around the store, Powers said.

Despite lawsuits, historic preservationists were not able to save the church, which closed in 2011.

St. Patrick's Watervliet, NY - May 2011

1 posted on 04/18/2013 2:05:29 PM PDT by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...

Interior Ceiling Detail

Interior - ceiling detail

Stripped Interior

Wrecking crew arrives - April 16, 2013

Gaping Hole in former sanctuary

Discarded Candles

St. Patrick's is only 2 blocks away from the church we just restored in Watervliet. Both date from the 19th century. St. Patrick's is one of 5 RC parishes in Watervliet. Bishop Hubbard closed 4 others, leaving this one for the local catholic community. The buildings were in a state of disrepair. Meanwhile, parishioners had been asked to fund restoration of the Albany cathedral which left them cash strapped to care for this large structure. Unable to financially support the cost to heat the church, much less repair it. The community took over one of the other closed parishes and the diocese sold St. Patrick's to a local developer which is planning a shopping mall.

While I never attended services here, I stood outside with others today and watched, with great emotional pain, as the wrecking crew began dismantling this majestic church. One woman told me she had been baptized here, attended the school, made her First Communion and been Confirmed at St. Pat's. She described the beauty of the liturgies at Easter and Christmas when members of the choir stood inside each of the upper arches, holding lit candles.

The Roman Catholic community in Watervliet has been decimated. Following the closing of their parishes, many of them fled to a nearby evangelical church. Those that remain are frustrated and bitter. Some of them have 'tested' our Maronite liturgy and found a welcoming community. When I went over to one woman to thank her for joining us that day, she broke down in tears. It had been a long and painful battle, struggling to remain faithful while these churches fought to remain active and were now closed. Another new parishioner told me he had attended services at the only remaining RC church; the parishioners were all on Social Security. He still has relatively young children and wants to encourage them to remain catholic.

Please pray for these catholics!

2 posted on 04/18/2013 2:07:37 PM PDT by NYer (Beware the man of a single book - St. Thomas Aquinas)
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To: NYer

They tore down that beautiful church to build a Price Chopper? How sad.

Not much different here in Pittsburgh though. As the Diocese continues to close churches and schools, they’ve ginned up a big fundraising campaign to build a new high school out in Cranberry Township, where all the big money has fled taxation just over the county line.

3 posted on 04/18/2013 2:24:33 PM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: NYer

The accomplishment in building this magnificent church is made even more amazing when one realizes that the maximum population of Watervliet, NY has never been much above 16,000 (1920-1950) and that the city had five Catholic parishes competing for funding.,_New_York#St._Patrick.27s_Church_controversy

4 posted on 04/18/2013 2:28:54 PM PDT by Captain Rhino (Determined effort Today forges Tomorrow)
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To: NYer

The fruits of Vatican II. I imagine many poor parishioners deprived themselves and put aside their hard earned pennies to build a beautiful church that they thought would last for centuries.

5 posted on 04/18/2013 2:48:15 PM PDT by informavoracious (The ancient Greeks and Romans thought they were on the "right side of history.")
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To: NYer
Catholic churches are some of the most beautiful examples of architecture ever.

There is an awe to just entering some of those grand cathedrals.

This is sad ... how can a brick structure fall into disrepair ?

6 posted on 04/18/2013 2:52:21 PM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: knarf
This is sad ... how can a brick structure fall into disrepair ?

It wasn't simply the bricks ... repointing is not that costly. Several years ago, they replaced the leaking roof. To replace the original slate roof would have cost $1 million. They opted to go with metal. The heating system was still using the original boiler installed decades ago. It also needed to be replace. There was no a/c. Attempts were made to have the church recognized as a landmark but that also fell through. The school closed 20 years ago. Last month, someone was able to enter the school and, videotape recorder in hand, found lesson plans still on the blackboards, books on the desks, art projects still hanging in classrooms ... it was as if someone walked out the door one night and never returned. This community fought long and hard to keep their parishes up and running. Sadly, this is the end result.

I can't begin to describe the pain of watching these wrecking crews knock down a church. The only other time I ever saw something like this was in an old film taken in the Ukraine. It documented catholics streaming out of a church carrying crucifixes, icons, vestments, linens, sacramentals while the Soviets were swinging a wrecking ball. Like today, one saw the steeple tumble while bystanders watched with anguished looks on their faces. That is what I witnessed today.

7 posted on 04/18/2013 3:09:45 PM PDT by NYer (Beware the man of a single book - St. Thomas Aquinas)
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To: knarf

“Modernist” Catholic church architecture since the 1950’s is the most ugly, soul-less crap ever, and they’re never torn down. But this beautiful edifice of neo-Gothic revival is demolished. While millions that should be used to uplift the spirit are paid out to the victims of evil child-molesting homosexual priests who’ve betrayed their collars. It makes me sick.

8 posted on 04/18/2013 3:09:50 PM PDT by Argus
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To: NYer

How sad. Catholic churches are the most beautiful, IMO.

9 posted on 04/18/2013 3:31:05 PM PDT by Amberdawn
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To: NYer

What a terrible loss.

10 posted on 04/18/2013 3:32:10 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: NYer

Absolutely criminal.

11 posted on 04/18/2013 6:18:22 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Resist We Much)
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To: NYer
This is so sad and painful even for an outsider who only sees the pictures you've provided with the bad/sad news.

I agree with the posters who have pointed out how many of the churches built more recently look so tacky in comparison to these classic older churches, more like secular auditoriums in some cases.

I can imagine all the demons singing and dancing whenever a bishop causes a beautiful church to "die" like this, and the demons all thanking that bishop (and the related circumstances), sort of similar to the way the townsfolk danced and sang "Thank You Very Much" in the musical "Scrooge" when they "learned" that Scrooge had "died".

12 posted on 04/18/2013 9:50:46 PM PDT by Heart-Rest ("God is Love" 1 John 4:8)
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To: Heart-Rest
I can imagine all the demons singing and dancing whenever a bishop causes a beautiful church to "die" like this,

What a powerful thought! You are absolutely right. The monies from the sale of this property (along with all the other churches he sold) have gone to the diocese. The bishop has heavy legal bills and payments to victims of clergy sex abuse. He will be retiring later this year. The diocese is now a shadow of its former glory. In nearby Columbia County, 5 of the 6 priests serving that community, will also be retiring. We are all praying the pope will send us an orthodox bishop to restore these communities.

13 posted on 04/19/2013 3:19:17 AM PDT by NYer (Beware the man of a single book - St. Thomas Aquinas)
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To: Argus
Yes, it is sad when older parishes are closed, and older churches torn down. Usually, though, they are in older areas of towns where there are many fewer Catholics than there were at the time those buildings were constructed. And the fact that there are fewer Catholics there has little to do with the priest sex abuse scandals. Those parishes were dwindling long before then, usually because of demographics. Catholic families moved up economically, moved out of the more urban areas, out into the suburbs, and that's where the newer, and sadly, more modernist churches happen to be. The families that moved into the areas surrounding the older parishes were not necessarily Catholic, so support for those parishes lessened.

There are too many parishes for the numbers of Catholics, because catechesis over the past two generations has been atrocious, and too many Catholics are ambivalent about their faith. Many don't see the need to support their parishes financially, and if a Parish cannot support itself, it will close.

14 posted on 04/19/2013 10:21:29 PM PDT by SuziQ
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