Thursday, May 24, 2012

☞ REVIVE:What's Up with St. Thomas the Apostle?

St. Thomas the Apostle at 262 West 118th has been closed for several years now but not much has happened since local politicians blocked a plan for its demolition to make way for affordable housing.  A Bespoke reader who has a view of the unofficial landmark from their apartment provided the following observation:

 "I've noticed business people hovering around the past month or so. The other day a group of them went into the old rectory portion with the groundskeeper. Then, today, I was walking my dog and saw a group of them with blueprints of the church, and the groundskeeper unlocked the gate and let them in. I asked the super/groundskeeper if they were doing work there and he said 'yes' but didn't want to offer any more info. I tried to look up work permits online but I couldn't find anything recent."

Does anyone have any tips on what's happening with St. Thomas?  Read more about this local landmark and see original photos in our past post: LINK


  1. Was it not possible to get the church officially landmarked? It is a beautiful structure and certainly deserving of landmark status.

  2. My god, how much more affordable housing does Harlem need? There are two NYCHA buildings less than 1 block away. Not to mention up the street. The church is looking for a buyer but is holding out for some reasons that aren't clear, at least that is what I've heard.

  3. Yeah, its bizarre that it didn't get landmarked with the other catholic churches in Harlem like St. Aloysius and All Saints. In additon to the Church structure, the rectories of these churches are to die for. I've been in the rectory at St. Thomas the Apostle many years ago in the 1960's and all I can say is WOW, I still remember a fire in the fireplace in the front parlour. This church is historically significant as it is the church where Jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams performed "Mass for Lenten Season" in the Spring of '68. I was a student at St. Catherine of Genoa School on W. 153rd St. and our attendance at those performances was mandatory. I really didn't have such a keen appreciation for Jazz in the 6th grade. As far as I remember her manager had been a priest at that church as well. But alas, the almighty dollar appears to have spoken yet again.