Second Calvary Baptist Church

503 Glenmore Avenue
Architect unknown

There is a longstanding tradition in New York City of adapting religious buildings for use by other religious groups, and the Second Calvary Baptist Church is a shining example of this practice. This structure was originally constructed for the Agudath Achim B’nai Jacob Synagogue, which operated here until transferring ownership in 1974 to the Second Calvary Baptist Church. Remarkably, while the church made changes to adapt the building, it left nearly all of the Jewish iconography and ornament intact on the building’s exterior. If not for the church’s new signs at the corner of Glenmore and Miller Avenues, the grand structure would appear to still function as a synagogue, as it retains Hebrew inscriptions above the three entrance doors, a prominent depiction of the Torah in the center of the building’s pediment, three large sculptures of the Star of David on the roofline and stained glassed windows containing the Star of David. Through the preservation of these elements, the new congregation has honored the building’s past, beautifully merging the old and the new. Aside from its religious symbols, the building commands a strong presence with its Classical style temple front, sculptural details, decorative brickwork and iron fence, which are all wonderfully intact.