The original rectory along Mermaid Avenue. Today, it’s the site of the main parking lot off
West 19th Street.
The former Palm Garden dance hall, now Our Lady of Solace Roman Catholic Church. When this picture was taken in 1914 at its second location at a leased lot on Railroad Avenue, it had been designated the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Solace eight years earlier. Note the small tower and belfry to the right constructed from the timbers of the felled
Flip-Flop Railway from the original Steeplechase Park.
The original 185-foot
with its Meneely Bell Chimes
The original 1884 Roosevelt organ that began life as an Odell instrument in 1865 in New Jersey. Beyond repair, it was finally removed in 2012 as renovations and repairs to the church commenced.
The arcade between the church and the former Convent of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary on a beautiful spring day. Memorial bricks line the small plaza in front of the Immaculate Conception Shrine.
As beautiful as ever, the church
interior today. The sanctuary was refurbished in January 2009 and two rows of pews were removed to accommodate the physically challenged. In spite of it large size, the great building provides the kind of prayerful intimacy one would find in a small country chapel.
Garms’ Wonder Wheel still operates today as well as Ward’s Kiddie Land. Together, the comprise Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. Thanks to the great love and care given to the great landmark by the Vourderis family, it looks and operates even better than when new.
The original Nathan’s Famous still sends the tempting odors of gastronomic delight wafting through the open windows of the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Solace on a clear summer day with a westerly breeze. The light towers of MCU Park (built on the site of the Steeplechase Pavilion of Fun and its swimming pool) are visible in front of the non-operational Parachute Jump tower, the only piece of old Steeplechase to survive.
This is Blessed Justin Russolillo, S.D.V., (beatified May 7, 2011) who worked tirelessly to build a Congregation that would to cultivate religious vocations, especially among the poor and underprivileged. In 1920, he founded the Society of Divine Vocations in Naples, Italy. The Vocationist Fathers’ ministry rapidly spread all over the word. At the end of January 2012, the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Solace moved from Diocesan administration and became the Vocationist Fathers’ first parish ministry in New York State.