Watchlist: St. Mary’s Church

By on February 25, 2017

ST. MARY’S R.C. CHURCH 1101 Bay Street, Rosebank, Staten Island

St. Mary’s R.C. Church stands as an architectural focal  point in Rosebank,with its prominent tower visible for
miles around.

Mary1Countless thousands of Staten Islanders share personal memories there, from family baptisms and weddings to
funerals. The Archdiocese of New York closed the church in 2015.
  • St. Mary’s is the second oldest Roman Catholic
    Church on Staten Island. (The oldest is St. Peter’s
    on St. Marks Place in New Brighton.)
  •  The cornerstone for St. Mary’s was laid in 1857; the
    first mass was celebrated at the church on Christmas
    Day 1857
  • The adjoining rectory was constructed in 1858.

“The church is an instant landmark in its red brick composition and tall central tower, its style elegantly
rendered in a Northern Italian Romanesque style,” says the nonprofit Historic Districts Council (HDC), headquartered
in Manhattan. “It sits prominently upon a hill, virtually intact since its construction in 1857, although its
surroundings – suburban corporate infill encroaches upon it.”
“Landmark status would preserve this structure’s place on Bay Street in case this property is ever sold, as the
continued subdivision of Staten Island and loss of its history unfortunately prevails,” HDC has noted.
St. Mary’s could face demolition if the Archdiocese of New York decides to sell the property on which it is


“This historic church should not suffer the same fate as the historic structures at Mount Manresa and the very
rare old-growth forest on that site that include a Black Tupelo tree slightly over 400 years old and possibly the
oldest living tree in New York City,” said Jack Bolembach, president of the Committee to Save Mount Manresa.

“This beautiful pristine property was tragically destroyed by a builder because it was not landmarked or zoned
“St. Mary’s Church is a long-standing structure dominating the community since 1857,” Bolembach notes. “The
church’s architecture is beautiful. Thousands of Irish and Italian immigrants and their first to fifth generation
descendants attended this church.
“I am surprised it was never landmarked. Many churches in Brooklyn not as old nor with as unique an
architecture have been landmarked. The community must be educated and made aware that this beautiful
historic structure could be destroyed.
“We learned from Mount Manresa that the time to act is before the site is sold.”
When St. Mary’s was constructed, Bay Street was known as New York Avenue and the neighborhood was called
In the early 1800s, “the entire waterfront consisted of widely scattered, fairly large farms,” wrote James
Ferreri in an article published in the Staten Island Advance in 2009. “What we know today as Alice
Austen House and Park at one time was part of the 114-acre Austen Farm, half of which consisted of
orchards and woods; the other half had been cleared and cultivated.”
“By 1836, a group of New York City businessmen began buying up the older farms, and formed the Staten Island Association,” Ferreri wrote. “The group published an elaborate brochure to promote their land holdings of over 600 acres as an ideal setting for one of New York’s earliest picturesque suburbs. It was decided by the group that the area would be called Clifton, after the cliffs along the shore.”
The history of St. Mary’s Church is forever linked to Rev. John Lewis, who was born in Alsace-Lorraine in 1821 and arrived on Staten Island in 1852.
“Without a church, Father had to say Mass in people’s homes and one of the first to open his doors to the young priest was Michael O’Connor,” according to a history of St. Mary’s prepared by the congregation on the occasion of its 125 th Anniversary.
“Shortly after Father Lewis’ arrival, Mr. O’Connor and Capt. William Corry went into partnership and built the first parsonage for St. Mary’s, free of charge,” the history continues.
“After constructing the first church and school on Wood Road – now St. Mary’s Avenue – Father Lewis began plans for the present St. Mary’s Church,” with the cornerstone laid in April 1857.
Posted in: Marys

Landmark St. Mary’s Church in Rosebank

By on February 25, 2017

Landmark St. Mary Church St. Mary’s Church in Rosebank is at risk of being sold and destroyed by developers. This petition is to urge Landmarking by the City of New York, to help protect this historic structure.  Please sign our

Friends of Mount Manresa to have float in St. Patrick’s Parade

By on February 20, 2017

On March 5 The Friend of Mount Manresa will be be riding a float down Forest Avenue in the Staten Island St. Patrick’s day Parade.  The Friends of Mount Manresa is a passionate group, dedicated to educating and keeping our

Upcoming Community Events

By on October 3, 2016

  Mark your Calendar – Meetings and Community Events Tuesday, October 4 – 6:30 PM – Community Participatory Budget Meeting with Councilwoman Rose at Olivet Presbyterian Church, at 97 Myrtle Ave. in West Brighton. Submit your idea and learn how

President’s Message – Jack Bolembach

By on September 26, 2016

I am proud to honor four citizens who have gone above and beyond what ordinary citizens do for the betterment of their community. We all want to provide a safe and secure community with a quality of life second to

Friends of Mount Manresa Park Fundraiser – Sept 25- Labetti Post

By on September 26, 2016

FIGHTING ‘OVER-DEVELOPMENT’ ON STATEN ISLAND: Committee to Save Mount Manresa a leading grass-roots voice STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Friends of Mount Manresa hosted a community celebration – a barbecue fundraiser – on Sunday afternoon at Labetti Post in Rosebank. …

John Guzzo, Mike DeCataldo, Larry Liedy and Joe Bilotti – Honorees, Sept 2016

By on September 25, 2016


Thank you to our electeds

By on September 25, 2016

Letters to The Friends of Mount Manresa – Congratulations to our Honorees!

Celebrate our Community – Sept 25 – Labetti Post

By on August 26, 2016

Join us in honoring our community leaders and long time supporters, John Guzzo and Mike DeCataldo – Rosebank Tennants Assoc & Shrine at Mt. Carmel, Joseph Bilotti – Mount Manresa Rosary and Save Mount Manresa Committee, and Larry Leidy, Owner

Upcoming Event – Aug 16 – DiSara’s

By on July 21, 2015

  Join us for another fun and exciting fundraiser with the Committee to Save Mount Manresa Join the Friends of Mount Manresa  Park and the Committee to Save Mount Manresa on Sunday, Aug 16 from 2-5pm  at DiSara Restaurant (121