The 15 Prettiest Churches in Brooklyn

Church Avenue sign Brooklyn

One of Brooklyn’s many sobriquets is “The City of Churches”; do a Google Maps search for “brooklyn churches” and the borough comes back looking like it’s got the chicken pox it’s so covered in red dots. Many of these are small storefront churches and basement worship spaces, places where the faithful convene to pray together. But those of us who lost our religion long ago prefer the mammoth stone testaments to god’s glory that were long ago built all across Brooklyn, from Williamsburg to Sheepshead Bay. Here’re a bunch of our favorites. [photo]

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Red Hook Brooklyn

15. Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Red Hook
Something about that old dirty stone is just so Brooklyn. But what this church really has to offer the passerby is its Gothic spire/clock tower. The red accents throughout are also a nice touch, especially considering this is Red Hook. [photo]

 

Our Lady of Angels Bay Ridge Brooklyn

14. Our Lady of Angels, Bay Ridge
Between its church, its school, its offices and its parking lot, this enormous parish occupies almost an entire square city block. [page]

 

St. Marys Star of the Sea Carroll Gardens Brooklyn

13. St. Mary’s Star of the Sea, South Brooklyn
This is where Al Capone married his wife! [photo]

 

Duryea Presbyterian Church Prospect Heights Brooklyn

12. Duryea Presbyterian Church, Prospect Heights
This place was even more impressive 100 years ago, when it still had the ornate top of its spire. [photo]

Sheepshead Bay United Methodist Brooklyn

11. Sheepshead Bay United Methodist Church
This gingerbread-house-like church was recently in danger of losing its steeples, though the community was able to rally and raise the funds necessary to save them. [photo]

St. Francis Xavier

10. St. Francis Xavier, Park Slope
On the north end of Sixth Avenue stand many churches, our favorite of which is this one, whose gargantuan spire towers over the neighborhood. [photo]

 

Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew Clinton Hill Brooklyn

9. Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew, Clinton Hill
This has been serving as a distribution center for Occupy Sandy relief efforts; it’s also a gorgeous arts-and-crafts-looking building. [photo]

 

St. Thomas Aquinas Park Slope Brooklyn

8. St. Thomas Aquinas, Park Slope
I always liked this church, but then one day I came out of the train at Ninth Street and saw it had been painted red! And I was like, whoa! That shit’s hellzapoppin! [photo]

 

Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Williamsburg Brooklyn

7. Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, Williamsburg
It gives McCarren that nice little touch of Tetris. [photo]

 

Flatbush Dutch Reformed Church Brooklyn

6. Flatbush Dutch Reformed Church, Flatbush
Giving Church Avenue its name, this very old church is charmingly juxtaposed today against the hustle and bustle of contemporary Flatbush Avenue. Also, as our Kristin Iversen said, “I like any church with an old-timey graveyard next to it.” [photo]

 

5. New Utrecht Reformed Church, Bensonhurst
While we’re obviously fond of Catholic church-palaces, we also like their opposite, like this charmingly simple Protestant alternative. [photo]

 

St. Barbaras Bushwick Brooklyn

4. St. Barbara’s, Bushwick
Speaking of palaces, this place looks less like a church than a monarch’s residence. It also looks like it’s made of sugar. [photo]

 

St Ann & Holy Trinity Brooklyn Heights

3. St. Ann & Holy Trinity, Brooklyn Heights
I mean, what can you even say about a building like this? Amazing. [photo]

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church Clinton Hill Brooklyn

2. Emmanuel Baptist Church, Clinton Hill
Look at this place! I love that giant wall of a front facade.

 

OLPH Our Lady of Perpetual Help Sunset Park Brooklyn

1. Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Sunset Park
It’s difficult to convey in a mere photograph the enormity of this building, but it’s like unfathomably enormous and beautiful. [photo]

Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart

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7 COMMENTS

  1. St. Augustine’s on Sterling and 6th Avenue is prettier than either of your Slope choices. St. Thomas Aquinas looks like a lesser version of St. Anthony of Padua on Manhattan Ave. I think I even prefer Old First Reformed.

    Worthwhile list though.

  2. Crown Heights should have been explored more for this slideshow because it has some really grand and unique churches. Crown Heights was a very upscale neighborhood a century ago and the churches its congregrations built shows it. Our neighbor is pastor at this church, Union United Methodist: http://www.nycago.org/Organs/Bkln/html/Uni…
    And get a load of the Hebron Seventh Day Adventist:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mateox/550330…
    This lapsed Catholic might be hit by lightning saying it but the churches I like best of all are the more simple, protestant churches too. I love the old stone Flatbush Dutch Reformed church, which was in the slideshow. They have a building I think anybody can rent for receptions btw and it sits right next to the old timey graveyard.

  3. I was so happy to see that my childhood parish is number one. The old grey lady as she was fondly called by our parish is not only a beautiful church and wonderful place to worship. It is a welcoming church and the parishioners are some of the finest people in the world. Big statement but it is true!!!!

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