Harlem Block Association Tries to Save Church

September 23, 2015

Saving-the-Former-Harlem-Horse-Stable_fullwidthIn July, the Second Friendship Baptist Church sold the horse stable-turned church building to a private buyer for $1.5 million. A couple of weeks later, the city approved the new owner’s plan to demolish it.

It’s hardly a surprise that, in a city where the divide between the haves and the have-nots continues to widen, longtime residents have to pack it in because they can’t keep up with skyrocketing rents — never mind the expenses required to maintain an old, charming building. But it is certainly always sad to see a rare old structure like this former horse stable get knocked down so a six-story building can rise in its place. The local block association seems to agree; it is still trying to save at least part of the church. “What we are hoping is to save the façade or incorporate the design of the façade into the new design,” Cindy Worley, who has lived on the block more than 30 years, told DNAinfo. “I think it would be a benefit to have a set of condos on the street reminiscent of the carriage house. I mean you could call it the ‘Stable House.'” Citing records, DNAinfo reports that “plans for a new building were filed [late last week] and have not yet been approved by the Department of Buildings.” As for the new owner, mum’s the word for now. In the meantime, the block association has its work cut out for it. Like savvy New Yorkers, however, they seem to have realized that if they cannot appeal to the new owner’s sense nostalgia, perhaps they can appeal to the wallet: “By saving what is left of the stable the developers could benefit from tax credits, similar to the ones the developers of the Corn Exchange Building received” (source).

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