Pathetic: NYU's St. Ann Facade Preservation

The shrouded remains Of St. Ann's

A lone stained glass window

This may be one of the most pathetic things I have seen in all of my real estate blogging travels.
Is it the lamest attempt ever at historic preservation, or the world's largest lawn ornament? Whatever you want to call it, I call it mutilation, possibly sacrilege.

In what I guess was an attempt to appease angry area residents and preservationists, NYU, in it's pursuit of building the East Village's tallest building (a dorm, of course), the university decided to preserve the facade, or at least part of it. What is left is a steeple and front door in what is a 60' wide facade which is anywhere from 1' to 24' deep.

Yes, it was a beautiful structure, but to preserve such a small portion to adorn the sidewalk of faceless 26 story dorm is an insult. I really wish they had gone 100% one way or another. But, perhaps, this is a good thing. Perhaps, this will stand as a monument to our warped priorities or a warped culture, and future generations will learn from it. In the meantime, it is one of the most hideous displays in the city.

A little backround: At 120 East 12th Street once stood St. Ann's Church, built in 1847. From 1847 til 1856 it served as the 12th Street Baptist Church. From 1856-1868 it was home to Temple Emanu-El. And finally it was St. Ann's Roman Catholic Church.


  1. That makes me sick!

  2. Tell it like it is, Fine!

  3. I live a couple of blocks away and am shocked every time i walk by. What could they have been thinking? Its one of the worst development ideas I've seen anywhere in the city.

  4. I find myself avoiding that block because it is so heartbreaking and enraging to see. I am often embarrassed to admit that I am an NYU alum, although from the days when we thought them owning the rowhouses on Wash Sq No was about the most outrageous thing that they could do. If we only knew then. . .

  5. My family (Padian)donated so many of the stain
    glass windows in St.Ann's. Hopefully some were sold and not just torn down. Does any one know where the church records went? Pat Padian in

  6. Huh.. what a shame.. oh well..

  7. Well it's always about money isn't it..? Money and profit.. true value is forgotten.

  8. Blame zoning laws and the violation of property rights. NYU did not want to keep the church steeple. They were forced to as a "compromise" with angry "preservationists." The solution is to respect the right of property owners to do what they want with their land. In this case, the original development would have been a hotel. Failing that, NYU could have been a clean, new dormitory, instead of this mongrel juxtaposition of the Old World and the New World.

  9. Isn't there more to worry about. How many of the people who are angry actually went into that church to pray! Students need housing. God is everywhere. A church is just a building.


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