4. There Used to Be a Floating Church on the Hudson

Church-of-Our-Savior-NYC-Hudson-River-Untapped-CitiesThe second Church of Our Savior. Image via Library of Congress

Manhattan’s no longer a port city, and the containerization of shipping has kidnapped shore leave. There are many that mourn the old days, when carousing bands of sailors were still a threat to pure womanhood, and the only way to keep an old salt in line was with the dreadful terror of God. Meet the Seamen’s Church Institute and its floating churches.

The Seamen’s Church Institute was founded in 1834 by a group of Episcopalian sailors and operates to this day. Their first big project was the Church of Our Savior, a floating church moored off Pike Street in downtown Manhattan. The first Church of Our Savior, “an object of attention and a marked institution of our city,” according to quickly disintegrated and SCI scuttled in in 1866. A second Church of Our Savior was built, excuse me, floated, in the same spot in 1870.

Besides the Church of our Savior in the East River, the Chapel of the Holy Comforter was moored in the Hudson. In 1868, when maintenance costs became excessive, SCI disposed of this church.