Our Lady of Vilnius is a church in limbo.
Built in 1910 in a yellow brick Gothic Revival style, it sits on a now-closed section of Broome Street between Varick and Hudson, just north of the always-jammed Manhattan entrance of the Holland tunnel. When it was constructed, Broome Street was no doubt a quiet residential side street, but in the mid-1920s when the tunnel was built, the space was transformed into an exhaust-belching, horn-honking maelstrom. In the 1910s, Lithuanian Catholics made up a sizable portion of the congregation — they had immigrated to NYC to work the docks — and so the church was named for the capital of that Eastern European country that for several decades was a part of the USSR.
In the 1990s the church building became unstable,no doubt from the decades of thundering traffic across the street, and at length services had to be held in the basement. Cardinal Edward Egan, chief of the NY Archdiocese, finally closed the church in February 2007, and the building had a date with the wreckers in 2008, but lawsuits have held them at bay thus far. It’s a long shot, but some churches, like St. Brigid in the East Village, have gotten a reprieve.
Broome Street is fairly torn up along this stretch, with some remaining Belgian block.