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Abandoned Harlem Baptist Church on 122nd Street To Be Demolished

By Gustavo Solis | July 20, 2015 7:35am
 New owners of the church bought the building July 2 and the city on July 15 approved plans to demolish it, records show.
New owners of the church bought the building July 2 and the city on July 15 approved plans to demolish it, records show.
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DNAinfo/Gustavo Solis

HARLEM — A dilapidated church that's stood on West 122nd Street for more than a century before catching fire and falling into disrepair is set to be demolished.

New owners bought the Second Friendship Baptist Church for $1.5 million on July 2, records show. On Wednesday, the city approved plans to demolish the structure.

“So many things have been lost in Harlem,” said Ken Butler, 59, who has lived across the street from the church for decades. “It’s kind of sad to see things like this go.”

Many were upset that the historic structure, which used to be a carriage house before becoming a church, could not be restored, but others were glad to learn the crumbling building will no longer damage neighboring properties.

“Unfortunately I’m happy,” said a neighbor who declined to give her name. “It’s unfortunate because it’s a very old church and it just fell into disrepair.”

Ever since the building caught fire in 2006, debris has been falling on the brownstone next door. Holes in the ceiling were never repaired after the fire, the neighbor said.

She declined to give her name out of fear that her comments may upset neighbors set on preserving part of the structure.

“A lot of people in the community want to save the façade,” said Cynthia Worley, who also lives across the street.

There have been a few efforts to save the church in the past several years. At one point, the former president of the block association tried to landmark the building, she said.

However plans to save the church never materialized and it has been left in disrepair.

During the 1980s Worley could hear “raw gospel” music coming from the church on late Sunday mornings, she said.

They also had bible study on Wednesdays, Butler added.

The new owner, 215 W 122 St LLC, did not respond to questions about plans for the new space or if any part of the church would be preserved.