Wednesday, April 08, 2009

136 Years Old This Week!

I walk up Bedford Ave at least once a week, but I'm usually late for work when I do, so taking photos is out of the question. Today found me walking south along the avenue with time to spare, so I grabbed some grainy shots (better photos on a nicer day here) of what is now the Iglesia Cristiana de Nazereno on Bedford and Madison, and took them home to do a little research on what is clearly an old church.

I'd have guessed the sanctuary was built in the 1920s if I'd been pressed, but I'd have been off by 50 years. As reported in none other than the Grey Lady, the East Reformed Church opened on Sunday, April 6, 1873, with its 1,1,00 seats packed full and hundreds more standing. The Times commended the design, which they said presented "a rich appearance, without being gaudy," for its excellent acoustics, elegant stained-glass windows, and powerful organ. This final feature, whose mighty lungs were filled by a water-powered bellows in the basement, was built in 1869 by New York City organ-maker Geo. Jardine & Son (their work pops up all over the city and suburbs), and according to the NYC Organ Project, remains in the church today. Perhaps the water-powered bellows lend the current congregation their full title, "Fuente de Agua Viva Iglesia Cristiana de Nazareno).

And of course, no blog-walk up Bedford would be complete without a couple of snaps of Larry's Liquid Love, which held the title of "most blogged sign in Brooklyn" until Obama Fried Chicken came along.

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