It’s endlessly fascinating to track the fate of the art which once adorned the closed churches of New York. Take the once great church of St. Ann, for example, torn down by Cardinal Egan and now the site of an NYU residence. Artwork from this church has turned up all over the Archdiocese: in Somers in Westchester, at Cardinal Egan’s retirement lodgings (The Chapel of the Sacred Hearts) and, until recently, at the church of Our Saviour. The pastor of Our Savior, in turn, has commenced the exploitation of the church of St. Stephen for various artifacts. An altar from the extraordinary church of St. Thomas in Harlem now graces St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Now the parish of the Nativity had already lost its historic church in 1968. Its new church was one of the first post-Conciliar monstrosities in Manhattan – and, fortunately, because of the worsening financial situation of the Archdiocese, one of the last. But, this ancient parish having been closed under “Making all Things New,” much of what little art remained to it recently has resurfaced in the church of the Most Holy Redeemer – excuse me,”The Parish of Most Holy Redeemer/Nativity.”
(Above) This “painting” of the Nativity – from Nativity parish – now graces a wall at Most Holy Redeemer. With the helpful sign on the left: “Please don’t touch the picture!”
(Above) The splendid chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help now features two statues from Nativity parish.
(Above) “Our Lady of the Streets” once peered out from the facade of Nativity.
(Above) Maria SS.”Del Monte”, patroness of Racalmuto in Sicily. Many inhabitants of this town settled in Hamilton, Ontario. There – and in Racalmuto, of course – a major festa is held in her honor. This statue, dedicated in 19(17?) indicates that Nativity must have become a very Italian parish by that year. Now this statue stands here in magnificent surroundings but somewhat forlorn. Perhaps some of the Racalmutesi will take an interest in her?