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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/24/nyregion/24harlem.html?ref=nyregion. According to the Times, some Harlem churches are going out of business. A very good thing, I say. There are more churches in Harlem than anything else; probably the biggest money maker (for the ministers and deacons) in the neighborhood. Harlem needs much more diverse businesses and less churches for its growth and survival.
That article was interesting. I do feel bad for the 100yr old churches with dwindling congregations. They shoulr probably consolidate with other similar churches if they can. I don't think the cause is primarily gentrification I just think that the younger generations migjt be less religious
I feel sorry for the churches and for the parishioners who remain. But Harlem needs less churches and more businesses that serve all of the community. There are literally three or four churches per some blocks in Harlem. It's actually ridiculous. Plus, all those churches are tax exempt, meaning, they don't contribute financially to the community. In a way, the over abundance of churches in Harlem are a serious detriment to the community.
I think you're right to talk about age, but I think you're heading off in the wrong direction. If you look at the census data, the average age in Harlem is much older than the Bronx or Bed-Stuy as most of the children are moving out, leaving the elderly to "age in place." So you don't have growing families to swell the ranks of the churches, but declining families. Many families tend to take a more active rold in their church when kids come along for social and educational reasons.
As for the "white" professionals gentrifying the neighborhood, I suspect many of those are childless. That said, to the best of my knowledge from census data, there are far more Hispanics (whether white or black) that have moved into Harlem than whites, and I doubt the Hispanics go to mainline Protestant Churches such as the Episcopalians. I bet if they looked at Pentecostal Churches they could probably find a lot more activity.
How dare you use data to argue against my opinion. On a serious note though, Isn't that data 10yrs old? Is it still that relevant?
Do you have any evidence that tyounger ppl are moving out? If so where are they going?
I am of two minds about this. First there is the aspect of community involvement. I am supportive of the church's efforts when they are out in the community helping- whether it be a basketball tournament for the kids or working to help stop some of the violent gangs in the community.
Then there is the other side. I live next door to a small church. With the exception of a few community outreach programs- they have largely been a bad neighbor. Congregants intentionally litter- and their porter throws out their trash on our side of the property line. This has caused us to receive fines from their trash more than a few times. Double parking...do I really need to say more about it? Noise- while they do exceed reasonable noise levels past 9 pm, that's not the root of the problem. The root of the problem is that they are in violation of numerous building codes...address the building code violations- and our residents won't have problems with the noise anymore. Which leads me to the violations- they don't even have a safe rear fire safety exit. The police don't want to touch them- indicating that they are above the law. This is unacceptable.
Adding to my mixed feelings are the buildings themselves. Some of these structures are amazing and will hopefully remain for generations to come. Unfortunately, far too many look as if they should have been condemned- and probably would have if they weren't protected by the powerful Harlem ministers. One or more of these buildings may see a tragedy as a result of a partial or full building collapse before the city gets involved. I hope it does not come down to that. I say hold the owners of these buildings to the same standard of everyone else. If the building is not safe- then they should not be able to hold services until they fix the problems.
Also who set that law about not allowing restaurants to sell alcohol when they are within x feet of a church (any religious institution?)? It's hampering Harlem's ability to re-vitalize itself. Maybe it won't- if enough church's close. I know I am looking forward to the opening of the new Harlem Beer Garden. I don't drink often- but I would like to enjoy a drink every now and again without feeling like I need to leave Harlem.
Couldn't agree more abouy the beer.although yatenga is not a bad place to throw back a few. I hear abouy that beer garden a lot(on 113th? And fdb). BUt is construction even happening?
I've also recently heard about that Law regarding no alcohol in restaurants within x feet of a SCHOOL!--is it Churches also??!!
I wouldn't mind much if some of these very small congregation churches do fold, and allow more Restaurants to take their place!
This must happen if Harlem is to truly survive and grow into All That It Can Be!
I'm told that restaurants really break even on the food, and make the money on the dinner drinks and Bar tabs!
How does NATIVE on LENOXav at 118 get through?
Nice lil neighborhood spot . . . .
Diagonal from a Charter School and a Church!
Community involvement is nice, but there are so many churches that the community involvement is really overkill. The community really needs new businesses and jobs that the churches, because they dominate the real estate in Harlem, are depriving the citizens of Harlem of.
Semerun - good point on the safety issues. I know someone at the Kalahari and the Bapist Temple right next store was condemned. Scaffolding was set up on the street, but the entire top of the building collapsed. I don't believe anyone was hurt, but it could happen as these buildings are very old and need constant maintenance.
Sunday mornings can be real special . . . .
Busloads of tourists even come to check the Sunday mornin' CHURCH scene!
Usually Abyssinian or Convent Baptist, or any of the other 'big-timers' though . . . .
But, I look towards the future when much of the smaller Church-owned Properties becomes community and quality of life enhancing Businesses and Restaurants.
Unless there can be more deals like 5th/Park and The Church Rental Landlords . . . .
. . . . would prefer something a lil more successful, though, and somewhat what Uptown Affordable would be kool!
U live in Harlem?? . . . . BRONX[??-!!]Boy?