Church of St. Thomas the Apostle in Harlem is stunning architecture, even without its stained glass. Abandoned by the Catholic Church and once destined for demolition, the former church has found a new life as a community arts center.
The Archdiocese of New York closed the church in 2003 in the wake of declining attendance and ballooning maintenance costs. Although community groups sued to prevent demolition, the church transferred its German stained glass windows to Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Church in LaGrangeville, NY in 2008. Meanwhile, the crumbling Harlem edifice was in limbo until 2012.
That’s when Artimus, a developer, purchased the church, its school and a nearby vacant lot from the Archdiocese of New York. The developer has since restored the front and rear walls and the ceiling. Additional restoration is continuing. Artimus is also converting the church’s school to affordable housing, and is to build a 10-story apartment house on a nearby vacant lot.
Church of St. Thomas the Apostle Vital Statistics
- Location: 258 W 118th Street at St. Nicholas Avenue
- Year completed: 1908
- Architect: Thomas Henry Poole
- Floors: 4
- Style: Gothic
Church of St. Thomas the Apostle Recommended Reading
- Wikipedia entry
- Wikipedia entry (Thomas Henry Poole)
- The New York Times Streetscapes/St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 118th Street Near St. Nicholas Avenue; A ‘Wild Masterpiece’ From 1908, in Neo-Gothic Style (December 22, 2002)
- The New York Times Pieces of History for New Churches (March 28, 2008)
- Daytonian in Manhattan blog
- Daily News A crumbling 107-year-old Harlem church will be reborn as the site of a community arts center and housing (February 10, 2014)
- Artimus project page