Recognize this solitary Gothic Revival church, set on what looks like the countryside of an older New York City?
It’s the Church of the Holy Communion, an Episcopal church built between 1844 and 1846 on Sixth Avenue and 20th Street.
But it might be better known as the church that from 1983 to 2001 housed the Limelight, the notorious nightclub famous for its celebrities, club kids, and bridge and tunneler crowd (and a link to a gruesome murder in 1996).
This sketch, from the New York Public Library, isn’t dated. But it appears to depict the church during its early years, when 20th Street was at the outskirts of the city.
Designed by Richard Upjohn (he also built Trinity Church in 1846, among others), Holy Communion was architecturally groundbreaking at the time.
“Holy Communion was the first asymmetrical Gothic Revival church edifice in the United States and was the prototype for hundreds of similar buildings erected all across the country,” states Andrew Dolkart’s Guide to New York City Landmarks.
“Upjohn designed the building to resemble a small Medieval English parish church; the rectory and other additions complement the church in style and massing.”
Here it is in 1901, in a photo from the Museum of the City of New York, and again in 1933 in another New York Public Library shot.
Since the Limelight shut its doors, the space had been configured as an upscale Limelight-branded shopping mall.
It now serves as a gym, a monument to the preservation of the physical over the spiritual.
[Second photo: Wikipedia]