Friday, October 25, 2013

Church of Saint Anthony of Padua, Greenpoint Cathedral

Photo of church from across the street
Church of Saint Anthony of Padua
New York City Marathon runners with church in background
Church of St Anthony - New York City Marathon
Interior of main church building
Church of St Anthony Interior (photo source: Elisa P.)
Saint Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) was a Portuguese Catholic Priest and frier of the Franciscan order. Built in 1875, St. Anthony of Padua Church in Greenpoint is a quasi-cathedral designed in the Neo-Gothic style by prolific church architect Patrick C. Keely.[1] The church is clad in red brick and accented with limestone, adding distinction to the structure and giving it a gingerbread look. Towering over the neighborhood, the church's spire is perched atop the clock tower and reaches 240 feet above street level. I can hear the church's bells toll from my apartment four minutes past every hour. The dominant presence the Church of Saint Anthony has on Manhattan Avenue provides a visual anchor for the intersection of Milton Street and Manhattan Avenue.

Architect Patrick Charles Keely (1816-1898) lived and practiced in Brooklyn, designing many of the borough's ornate ecclesiastical structures. Keely's portfolio includes as many as 700 church buildings constructed in the northeast, south and midwest.[2] Some of Keely's other Brooklyn churches include: the Church of St. John the Baptist, Immaculate Conception Cathedral, St. Agnes Church, St. Patrick's Church, St. Stephen/Sacred Heart Church, St. Benedict Church and St. Peter's Church (now condos). Many of Keely's Brooklyn churches have been closed, burned or demolished.[3]
Looking at church from down the street
Church of St. Anthony of Padua-Neighborhood Context
Due to its height and distinct character this building is a local landmark providing a visual reference while navigating the neighborhood. This church was the first building in Greenpoint to make an impression on me. It became a distance marker for me when I used to ride the bus from Williamsburg to Long Island City along the journey from my first apartment in Bushwick to a friend's apartment in Astoria.
Main entrance showing ornamental doors
Church of Saint Anthony of Padua Main Entrance
Terra cotta tympanum above main entrance
Tympanum Over Main Entrance
Flanking the recessed door is a sculpture of Christ to the left and what I am guessing is a sculpture of either Saint Anthony or Saint Francis on the right. The tympanum (sculpture above the door) shows Jesus at the center of a biblical narrative.

Looking up at the spire from the main entrance
Looking Up at The Spire

1. White, Norval, Willensky, Elliot, and Leadon, Fran AIA Guide to New York. Oxford University Press, 2010.
2. "Symposium on architect Patrick C. Keely". (20 February, 2013) Online.
3. "Churches of Patrick C. Keely". Keely Society. Online.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for publishing this! I just moved onto Milton St. and am in love with this church. Your research is much, much appreciated.