ST. ANDREW’S CHURCH, City Hall Plaza

by Kevin Walsh

St. Andrew’s Church was consecrated on Duane Street and Cardinal Hayes Place, formerly City Hall Place, in 1939, replacing an earlier church named Carroll Hall built in 1842. Just before the Civil War when the City Hall area became the center of the printing and newspaper business, the church received special dispensation to say a “printer’s Mass” at 2:30AM  for the night shift of newspapermen and printers. It later became the first parish church to offer a noon mass for the growing number of businessmen in the area. The Latin phrase on the frieze, Beati qui ambulant in lege domini, means ‘Blessed are those who walk in the law of the Lord.’ (An appropriate inscription, given the many courts surrounding the church.) Information from Gerard Wolfe, New York: 15 Walking Tours.

Patrick Cardinal Hayes (November 20, 1867 – September 4, 1938) was from the Five Points area and attended this church as a youth. He was an American Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of New York from 1919 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1924. A boys’ high school in the south Bronx bears his name, and a bust of the Cardinal is further down on Cardinal Hayes Place.

City Hall Place, which runs from Duane Street to Pearl Street, was renamed for him.

Duane Street curves southeast here, as it followed a stream that issued from Collect Pond. The street was closed east of Centre Street a couple of decades ago.

According to Church ecclesiastical tradition, St. Andrew, the brother of Peter and one of the twelve Apostles, was crucified on an X-shaped cross, and he is depicted with one on the church exterior.



Tal Barzilai June 7, 2013 - 5:57 pm

It almost makes me feel that this church is a remnant of the neighborhood that was there before all the courthouses and government buildings came in and replaced everything else.

camille July 30, 2015 - 6:08 pm

I was born on Cardinal Hayes place in 1948. The area is unrecognizable except for St.Andrews where I was baptized. I know nothing stays the same , however I could not help the feeling of sadness looking at these pictures.

Bill Priester June 8, 2013 - 7:03 pm

This was the next closest Catholic church from where I lived in lower Manhattan in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Much has changed in the area since then. Back then it ran adjacent to a narrow street/alley that ran down towards a small park that had a statue of Christopher Columbus. Going past that park was where the Five Points were. Just ahead is Columbus Park with Mulberry Street that borders the park curving (this goes back to Mulberry Bend that was part of the geographical makeup of the Five Points in the mid-19th century).

I’d like to see something on Saint Jame’s Church located just a couple of blocks from Saint Andrews. It is the second oldest Catholic church in New York and is located a block (Henry Street) from where the Ancient Order of the HIbernians was founded. Unfortunately, there was a fire at St. James a couple of years ago and, I believe, it is closed up. Former mayor, and presidential candidate, Al Smith, served as an altar boy and attended the St. James School.

DennisP June 9, 2013 - 12:49 pm

St. James has suffered significant structural damage. It is being supported by beams installed in the basement meeting room. There are rumors circulating that the Archdiocese is considering permanently closing the church.

Bill Priester June 27, 2013 - 7:37 am

Thanks for the additional information on the state of St. Jame’s Church. I had no idea there was that much damage. That meeting room under the church was the makeshift gym and also used for events like bingo and CYO dances.


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