“With every real-estate cycle, developers will systemically call on religious institutions because their sites are soft,” Ms. Friedman said.
In a way, it’s an odd time for churches to disappear. The number of congregations in New York is actually increasing, according to census records. There were 1,426 congregations in Brooklyn in 2010, up from 959 in 2000, records show, with large gains in Manhattan and Queens, too. And the 2020 census is expected to show more growth, religious leaders predict.
But small mosques and storefront churches account for a lot of the uptick. Older and highly visible institutions that once served Episcopalians and Lutherans, for example, are indeed closing. And dozens of Catholic churches, facing low attendance, have also gone dark in the past 15 years.
“Every time we turn around, another is being sold,” Gilford T. Monrose, who directs the Office of Faith-Based and Clergy Initiatives on behalf of Eric L. Adams, the Brooklyn Borough President.
Concerned that the borough is losing an important source of community services, Mr. Monrose has been working over the past few years to get churches to consider affordable housing as a lifeline.
— Michael Snedeker (@MikeTSnedeker) October 4, 2019