Friday, November 5, 2010

Tabernacle Baptist Church, Second Ave

The Second Avenue Baptist Tabernacle (1850) stood on Second Ave between 10th and 11th Street on the east side of the block.

1893, Baptist Tabernacle is on the right.  View of the east side of the street, uptown is to the left.

1928, demolition underway.
NYPL Digital Gallery

1929, demolition continues.
NYPL Digital Gallery

From Abyssinian to Zion: a guide to Manhattan's houses of worship By David W. Dunlap:
The words Baptist Tabernacle can still be seen over a grand doorway at Warren Hall, 168 Second Avenue, testament to the origins of this 15-story building as a Skyscraper Church, designed by Emery Roth.  It occupies the site of a Gothic sanctuary built in 1850 by the Baptist Tabernacle, founded in 1839.  The church, also know as Second Avenue Baptist, shared the block with the New York Historical Society.  The new sanctuary was built from 1928 to 1930 and played a polyglot role in the 1940s, as home to Italian, Polish, and Russian Baptist congregations.  It is now an Urban Outfitters store.
An 1896 article in the NY Times about the foreclosure of the property:
A BAPTIST CHURCH SOLD.; Another of the Troubles of the Second Avenue Tabernacle Society. (PDF)

Emery Roth-designed building goes up on the site.
NYPL Digital Gallery

A view of an entrance to 168 Second Ave, with the words "Baptist Tabernacle" overhead.  (Google)


~evilsugar25 said...

do you know why they put "Baptist Tabernacle" in the concrete above the door? was it just commemoration, or was this a vestige of it?

this site is amazing, by the way... keep it up!

pinhead said...


Thanks for the comments! I don't have anything definitive, but the Dunlap quote seems to imply that the Urban Outfitters store was actually the Tabernacle's new sanctuary in the 1930 building, and I would guess that the doorway was the entrance. I haven't been in the store in some time, but I remember interesting architectural detail and unusual tile work. I'll keep looking...

Laura Goggin Photography said...

Ah, you mentioned this church over on EVG and I've been curious about it in the days since.

Cool blog - this is just the stuff I love and wish I had more time to dedicate to research. I look forward to reading more of your findings.

BabyDave said...

I got here from your comment on EV Grieve. It's great history you post, and I am impressed with the studious passion the material brings out in your readers.

pinhead said...

Hey, thanks BabyDave. I wish I had more time for new posts...Maybe next year.

DrBOP said...

EVgrieve hooked us up here. LOVIN' what you got goin' on here, and hope there IS a way for you to post more wonderful items in the future.
Also been listening to some FANTASTIC Big Band Christmas music streaming over at (repeated at 2 and 8pm tomorrow.....HIGHLY rec'ed) and it got me to thinkin' about how much testifyin' music got sung in this venerable building, but can you also imagine the uplifting Christmas concerts that went down there? Makes it disappearance more real, and a bit sadder also.
Things change, I's proving to be one of the REAL challenges of getting older.
Thanks MUCH again.

pinhead said...

Hey, thanks for the kinds words and the JALC tip--I didn't know they were streaming! The responses I get here are always so enthusiastic--It really makes me want to get my act together and start cooking up more posts soon. (I don't know how Grieve does it!)