Transfiguration Lutheran Church


“If you come upon Transfiguration Lutheran Church on the corner of East 156th street and Prospect Avenue, the first thing you’ll notice are the doors, spray-painted with a bright mural. (By Tats Cru) It shows an open fire hydrant with water splashing into a baptismal font. Water brims and spills from the bow onto the grass below as new buildings rise up from the sidewalk. An arm reaches across the altar, with bread to place on a plateful of food-turkey, greens and rice for the hungry.” Reverend Heidi Neumark, leader of the church from 1984 to 2000 and author of ‘Breathing Space: A Spiritual Journey in The South Bronx.’ Transfiguration Church was founded in Harlem by Puerto Rican immigrants in 1923. The congregation moved to the South Bronx in 1941 and expanded in the fifties and sixties.

Elton Avenue/La Resurreccion Church

In 1852, German-speaking residents of Melrose organized a Methodist church.  By 1879 the congregation erected a brick building on Elton Avenue, a street named for a developer of the area.  In the 1990’s the church was ‘wrecked’ according to a contemporary newspaper article about it.  Eddie Perez Jr. moved his church, La Resurreccion United Methodist Church to the building in 1994 and arranged for funding to have the building properly restored.

Beth Hamidrash Hagadol


An exterior view of the former Beth Hamidrash Hagadol synagogue. Located in Morrisania, it is a remnant of an area that was redeveloped when the Forest Houses were constructed in the mid-fifties.
Beth Hamidrash is Hebrew for the house of study, specifically Talmudic study. Gadol simply means large. Jewish immigrants, especially from Lithuania often established synagogues with this name, a reminder of how they organized themselves in the ‘old country.’ The congregation was founded in 1904, and the building dates from 1912. An inscription in the cornice lists the equivalent Hebrew year. Sharon Baptist Church, which if I remember correctly was a branch of a church founded in Harlem, bought the building in 1957.