Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Leaning Spire of Park Slope

Have you tried to walk up Sterling Place from the Fifth Avenue Key Food, and found your way blocked by police tape? Or, walking along Sixth Avenue, seen barricades and a Police van and wondered "What have I stumbled into?" No, it’s not a grizzly crime scene, or a film shoot – it’s the swaying spire of St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church.

During the post-Irene wind storm Sunday evening one of the local residents noticed the oxidized copper spire swaying and called 911. After an assessment by the Department of Buildings, a Vacate Order was placed on the Church until they could fully evaluate and stabilize the now angled spire.

On Tuesday structural engineers surveyed the structure and met with the church Pastor as well as members of the Archdiocese of Brooklyn and City agencies to discuss both temporary and permanent fixes. The hope is that by Thursday the contractor will be able to begin work stabilizing the approximately 40 foot tall spire while a plan is written to permanently fix any rotting or damaged wood. And, if lucky, Sterling Place will re-open before Labor Day.

St. Augustine is a beautiful Romanesque Revival church built in 1886 by the Parfitt Brothers and was featured in the 2003 movie Mona Lisa Smile.

~Photo and post by Erika Clark

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