St. Benedict the Moor's Church (New York City)

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St. Benedict the Moor's Church
20110204.042.NYC.Midtown.Clinton.342W53rdSt.St.BenedictheMoorCh.c.1890.338-342.Rectory.d.1965.JosMitchell.Taken by James Russiello.jpg
St. Benedic the Moor's Church at 342 West 53rd Street (to right) and the rectory at 338-342 West 53rd Street (to left), which was built in 1965 to the designs of architect Joseph Mitchell
General information
Town or city Hell's Kitchen / Clinton, Manhattan, New York City, New York
Country United States
Completed c.1890 (for church)
1965 (for rectory)[1]
Cost $220,000 (for 1965 rectory)[1]
Client Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York
Design and construction
Architect Joseph Mitchell of 355 West 54th Street (for 1965 rectory)[1]

The Church of St. Benedict the Moor is a Roman Catholic parish church in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, located at 342 West 53rd Street, Hell's Kitchen (Clinton), Manhattan, New York City, New York.


The parish was established in 1883 by the Rev. Thomas Farrell to serve the African-American community of the city. It was the first church in the city for black Catholics.[2] IN 1892, the address was at 210 Bleecker Street.[3] The parish has been staffed by Spanish friars of the Third Order of St. Francis (T.O.R.) since 1953. The parish has been reduced to mission status, and is currently maintained by members of the new Lumen Christi congregation. Although recommended for closure during an initial review, the Archdiocese announced on January 19, 2007 that the church would retain its parish status.[4]


On stylistic grounds, the Italianate-style red brick pedimented church was built around the late nineteenth or early twentieth century (probably the latter). A three-storey rectory at 338-342 West 53rd Street was built in 1965 to the designs of Joseph Mitchell of 355 West 54th Street for $220,000. That rectory reused the statue of the Virgin Mary with outstretched arms from the church.

St. Benedict the Moor RC Church (Photographed in 1929 by P. L. Sperr); The rowhouse to the left has been demolished and replaced with the 1965 rectory and alley, the Marian statue has been removed from the church and added to the rectory. The house to the right of the church has similarly been demolished with a c.1980 apartment building.


  1. ^ a b c Office for Metropolitan History, "Manhattan NB Database 1900-1986," (Accessed 25 Dec 2010).
  2. ^ David W. Dunlap, From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship. (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.) p. 219.
  3. ^ The World Almanac 1892 and Book of Facts (New York: Press Publishing, 1892), p.390.
  4. ^ Michael Luo, "Archdiocese to Shut 21 N.Y. Parishes," New York Times, January 19, 2007, Retrieved 21 July 2011.

Coordinates: 40°45′52.81″N 73°59′11.61″W / 40.7646694°N 73.9865583°W / 40.7646694; -73.9865583