13th Street Presbyterian Church
Architect: Attributed to Samuel Thompson
Location: 141-145 West 13th Street
I used to be puzzled as to why this church never bothered to update its bulletin board, listing the same psalm numbers — 141, 143, 145 — for years on end. The joke was on me: it’s not a church anymore. Oh, it was one for nearly 130 years. For nineteen of them, it was used as both a church and synagogue until the Yom Kippur War sharpened pre-existing frictions and the Jewish congregation left; the Presbyterian congregation was dissolved soon after. Now it’s apartments. Really, apartments! You’d think a church wouldn’t be amenable to that kind of conversion, but in spite of the impiousness of the gesture and the distinctly un-residential qualities of most ecclesiastical architecture, it happens. All the time. Oh, and the psalm numbers? They’re address numbers. Should I mention that the columns aren’t even stone but made from wood, or would that tear one veil too many from your eyes?