Sunday, April 19, 2009

60. St. Vincent de Paul (CLOSED)

NOTE: In 2013 this church closed down. The building has already been or will be either leased or sold. If you have any further information on the closing of this church or any continuing efforts to help save it, please leave a comment below.

(church info last updated 04/24/2016)
Address: 123 W. 23rd St. (between 6th & 7th)
Phone: 212.243.4727
Constructed: 1857
Great Place for Brunch Nearby: Le Grainne Cafe
Official Save the Church Facebook Page
Wikipedia Page Highlighting the church history and demise
NY Timse April 2012 Article about the closing
St. Vincent de Paul Faces a Sad Fate (New York Sun, April 2008)
For NYC Francophones, Saving Chelsea Church a Cause Célébre (Chelsea Now, April 2008)
Parishioners Keep Fighting as Church Stays in Limbo (Chelsea Now, June 2007)
Amid Closings, Preparing to Bid a Chelsea Church Adieu (NY Times, June 2006)
Stop a Church Closing (New Liturgical Movement, June 2006)
Help Save a Parish
Flickr Photos
Society of St. Vincent de Paul
St. Vincent de Paul
CUNY Journalism Blog Entry

The Church of St. Vincent de Paul in Chelsea, one of the only French parishes in the city, is yet another church in danger of closing down. Based on my research of the above sites, it seems it was a strong candidate for closing down in 2006 and 2007, with its fate now in some kind if limbo.

I found this 2007 article from The New York Post that details the Archdiocese's plans of which churches were going to be merged into other parishes and which would be closed forever. St. Vincent de Paul seems as if it was on its way to being merged with the nearby parish of St. Columba. As of today it is still standing and I am not sure of what its future is or will be as the articles seem to stop in 2008. Is it still going to be closed or merged (or is it merged already?) Please, if you know anything of it's fate, comment below.

I had walked past this church many time before on various errands on and around 23rd street (mainly on my way to and from TekServe.) Sadly, it had always seemed, to me, just another building on busy 23rd, though I did wonder what it would be like inside.

It's a pretty church, classical and old - with a very French history (Edith Piaf was married there!) I attended the 10am English Mass though probably should have tried, and kind of regret not, attending the 11:30am French Mass. It seems fairly traditional and Communion is handed out in the traditional style of lining up in a row and kneeling at the altar.

I also came upon this interesting article from May 2008 in the Gotham Gazette which details the fates of various closed churches in the city and what became of them: apartments, restaurants, bars, clubs, etc. Sad to think that these holy places, once destinations of worship, are now such secular domicile places of commonality - then again, some part of me would strongly desire to live in an old church, or have some drinks in one, or enjoy dinner. Last year during Lent, I recall wanting to go smoke a hookah in a place called The Cloister Cafe, simply because of the stained glass decor, old chapel door and pews for seating.


  1. The French mass is pretty energetic with a strong African presence. The choir is very unique and talented. They sang in a Cote-D'Ivoire dialect for one song (if I remember correctly).

    This is an interesting blog.

  2. excellent website for a Frenchman visiting NYC for 7 days and looking for a weekdays service. Thanks OP

  3. Attended a wonderful choir concert yesterday (7/18/10) at this lovely church given by the The Paris Boys Choir who are touring in the U.S., so it obviously is still going. Arriving early, I was present for a good part of the Mass. The singing during the service was superb! And found the article from the NY Sun (April 2008) about its possible closing. Glad to see that has not happened. What an interesting history this church has.


  5. Thanks for the help - I'm writing a novel and you gave me some helpful info here. Hope you are still visiting churches. Blessings!

  6. Is there any update on whether St Vincent's is still open ? My grandparents were married there in 1915 and my mother was baptized there as well. I would like to visit this church next time I'm in Manhattan.

  7. St. Vincent's Church is still open. I just made a visit there last Sunday, November 13th. I noted that one of the stain glass windows was broken. Obviously, the church is facing hard times. It's looking run down, but it's still beautiful. Go and visit soon before it is closed for good.

  8. You will not be shut down. I went in the Church and never had the priviledge to attent Latin Mass. I was admonished for leaving a Starbucks cup on th pew and I humbly pick it up. I lit a candle and prayed to St.Joan asking for her intervention. That was the only Catholic Church on W23rd my old neighborhood in 1997 it was closed.

  9. the church is closed ..looking for a new francophine churchin nyc.