By Art Stamford
The old church stood in our neighborhood just crumbling from decay.
A sidewalk shed guarded your head
if you passed along that way.
Its puce facade some said was odd while others deemed it historic.
Its phallic tower couldn’t tell the hour but made architects euphoric.
At their request the City thought it best
to give it landmark status.
But they failed to see the cost wasn’t free – the church would not stand there gratis.
The congregation shrank and shrank down to nearly nil.
It lacked the money in the bank
to pay the upkeep bill.
What were they to do? Too-ray, too-roo – the church was falling down. Hip-hip-hooray, I’ll save the day,
said a developer of renown.
We’ll raze the church, we’ll put condos in, we’ll supply a new church too.
It’s a great solution, a true win-win – we’re here to rescue you.
Not so fast – very much aghast,
an arts group reared its head.
We’ve made this space our special place – we’ll yield only when we’re dead.
It was the City’s call and they stood tall: they held hearing after hearing.
As you may guess, it was quite a mess – there was lots of boos and cheering.
The landmark cause had its Joan of Arc, one Sadie Saltimbanque.
And hitting the mark for the forces of dark was a stooge named Amos Dank.
Sadie’s address showed great finesse:
“I love the church, it’s in my view-
if they tear it down, I might leave town – I don’t know what I’ll do.”
Amos Dank – his smell was rank –
said the structure was so unstable there’d be scaffolds galore forevermore if the building didn’t just crumble.
A year’s slipped away – the City won’t say what’s come from its review.
But who can doubt? No need to shout – they don’t know what to do.
Now they’re too late – they were wrong to wait = the church has morphed into a dragon.
The elegant spire is breathing fire
and gobbles folks by the gallon.
You suspect a prank from Amos Dank
but this won’t make him happy.
No, there’s come a cry from a voice on high: “Give the land back to the Lenape.”
To read West Side Rag’s extensive coverage of the West-Park Presbyterian Church controversy, click here.
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