Norwegian Seamen's Church - New York City
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Norwegian Seamen's Church
(Lutheran)

317 East 52nd Street
New York, N.Y. 10022
http://www.kjerka.com


Organ Specifications:
317 East 52nd Street (since 1989):
• III/ Rodgers Instruments electronic
49th Street and 2nd Avenue (1983-1989):
• unknown, if any
33 First Place, Brooklyn (1928-1983):
III/18 M.P. Möller, Op. 5991 (1931)
• III/26 Alvinza Andrews & Son (1858)
111 Pioneer Street, Brooklyn (1878-1928):
II/9 Estey Organ Company, Op. 307 (1905)


Norwegian Seamen's Lutheran Church - Brooklyn, New York  
111 Pioneer Street, Brooklyn  
The first Norwegian Seamen’s Church (Den Norske Sjømandsmission) was established in New York on July 1, 1878, although the Seamen’s Mission itself dates back to 1864. Seamen’s missionaries were active in New York at several locations for a number of years even before that time. But it was in 1878 that the Seamen’s Mission in Bergen sent Ole Bugge Asperheim to establish a church in New York. He purchased a former Dutch Reformed church on Pioneer Street (then called William Street) in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn, which became the society's home for the next 50 years.

  Norwegian Seamen's Lutheran Church - Brooklyn, New York
  33 First Place, Brooklyn
In 1928, the congregation moved to the former Westminster Presbyterian Church, located on First Place at Clinton Street in Brooklyn. It was a big, beautiful Romanesque building from 1856, and popular with the large Norwegian community in the Bay Ridge area, as well as with sailors from Norwegian ships in the Brooklyn docks. Then came the Depression in the thirties, when many Norwegian sailors were without food and shelter. The church was there to help them, especially “Tante” Klara Brevik, who became well-known among sailors around the world during that period. During World War II the church – in many different ways – helped thousands of people who were separated from their families in occupied Norway. After the war, the church continued to grow, and peaked in the 1960s, when yearly visits to the church were over 100,000, and ship visits to New York area harbors were over 1500 a year. But by the early 1970s the number of Norwegian ships calling in to New York fell to under 400. With fewer Norwegian crews, and shorter stays, it became difficult for seamen to visit the church, and it became more important for the pastors to visit the ships, instead.

At the same time, the colony in Brooklyn began to disperse, with families moving to the suburbs and newly arriving Norwegians settling in other parts of the metropolitan area. Ships rarely docked in Brooklyn any longer, and the beautiful Brooklyn church became too big and expensive. The heating bill alone amounted to over $25,000 per year. That’s when the move to Manhattan was recommended … as a more central point from which to serve the area. The first move, in 1983, was to the brownstone building on 49th Street at 2nd Avenue. There the number of visitors gradually increased from only 11,000 in 1985, to over 25,000 in 1989, at which point the church building became too small! So it was decided to sell the single brownstone on 49th Street, and buy two adjoining brownstones on 52nd Street, with the plan of converting them to a better and bigger church.

The church was originally a home away from home for the many Norwegian sailors manning ships that carried goods and passengers around the world, and it still is so today. As the Norwegian Church Abroad, it is also a welcoming haven for many young students and au pairs, and for business people here on long or short assignments. It serves also as a cultural center with performances and exhibits by artists of Scandinavian background. A connection with their roots, culture and religion is important for people away from home – and Norwegians can find it at the Seamen’s Church.

from "A Brief History of the Norwegian Seamen’s Church" by Rolf Kogstad
           
Rodgers Instruments LLC
Hillsboro, Ore.
Electronic tonal production
3 manuals


Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
           
Organ in church located at 33 First Place, Brooklyn:

M.P. Möller, Inc.
Hagerstown, Md. – Opus 5991 (1931)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 38 stops, 18 ranks
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed with Choir
8
  Open Diapason
61
4
  Flute Harmonic [Concert Fl.]
CH
8
  Doppel Floete
73
16
  Tuba Profunda
85
8
  Melodia
73
8
  Tuba Mirabilis
8
  Dulciana
73
4
  Tuba Clarion
8
  Viole d'Gamba
73
   
Chimes
25 bells
4
  Octave [Eng. Op. Diap.]
CH
    Tremulant  

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon [unit]
97
8
  Vox Celeste [TC]
73
8
  Gedeckt
4
  Salicet
4
  Orchestral Flute
8
  Cornopean
73
2 2/3
  Flute Twelfth
8
  Oboe
73
2
  Flautina
8
  Vox Humana
61
8
  Open Diapason
73
    Tremulant  
8
  Salicional
73
       

     

     
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed with Great
8
  English Open Diapason
73
8
  Viole d'Gamba
GT
8
  Concert Flute
73
4
  Flute Traverso [Melodia]
GT
8
  Doppel Floete
GT
    Chimes
GT
8
  Dulciana
GT
  Tremolo  
8
  Unda Maris [TC]
61
       

     

     
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
32
  Resultant
derived
8
  Flute [Bourdon]
16
  Open Diapason
44
8
  Violoncello
GT
16
  Bourdon
44
16
  Tuba
GT
16
  Lieblich Gedeckt
SW
8
  Tuba
GT
8
  Octave
       
               
Couplers
    Great to Pedal     Swell to Choir 16', 8', 4'
    Swell to Pedal     Choir to Swell 16', 8', 4'
    Choir to Pedal     Great 16', 4', Unison Separation
    Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'     Swell 16', 4', Unison Separation
    Choir to Great 16', 8', 4'     Choir 16 ', 4', Unison Separation
               
Adjustable Combinations
   
Swell Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5
Great Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5
Choir Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5
Pedal Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5
Full Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5
  General Cancel Piston
  Coupler Cancel Piston
               
Pedal Movements
    Balanced Expression Pedal, Swell Organ   Great to Pedal Reversible
    Balanced Exp. Pedal, Great-Choir Organ   Sforzando Pedal and Piston
    Grand Crescendo Pedal (with indicator)    
           
Organ in church located at 33 First Place, Brooklyn:

Alvinza Andrews & Son
Sangerfield, N.Y. (1858)
Mechanical action
3 manuals, 26 stops


This organ had a blower installed in 1925 by Midmer-Losh, who reported that the organ had 26 stops (Great 8, Swell 10, Choir 7, Pedal 1). Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
         
Organ in church located at 111 Pioneer Street, Brookyn:

Estey Organ Company
Brattleboro, Vt. – Opus 307 (1905)
Electro-pneumatic action
2 manuals, 9 stops, 9 ranks


The Contract (Oct. 5, 1905) between the Estey Organ Co., and the Norwegian Seamen's Church of Brooklyn states that Estey agreed to build a new two-manual organ for a consideration of $1,200, all in cash upon completion of the organ. The organ was installed in a case placed about two feet in front of the rear gallery window. Estey was to complete the organ and have it ready for use on or before December 25, 1905, or as soon thereafter as possible. On November 3, 1905, the church approved Estey's offer to add an 8' Melodia to the Great for an additional payment of $150. Following is the Estey Organ Co. Factory Specification:
               
Great Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes
8
  Open Diapason
61
8
  Dulciana *
49
8
  Melodia
61
4
  Principal
61
           
* lower octave grooved to Melodia
Swell Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Salicional **
49
4
  Flute Harmonic
61
8
  Stopped Diapason (wood)
61
8
  Oboe (Patent Reedless) [TC]
49
           
** lower octave grooved to St. Diap.
Pedal Organ – 30 notes
16
  Bourdon (wood)
30
       
               
Couplers
    Swell to Pedal     Swell to Great
    Great to Pedal     Swell to Great (Octaves)
           
Pedal Movements
    Balanced Swell Pedal    
           
Mechanical Accessories
    Bellows Signal   Organ Bench w/ Music Compartment
    Tremulant   Haskell's Patent Register Action
    Wind Indicator    
           
Sources:
     Bridge and Tunnel Club web site: http://www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com
     Estey Organ Museum. Contract (Oct. 5, 1905), Factory Specification, and correspondence of Estey organ, Op. 307. Courtesy Larry Trupiano.
     The Estey Pipe Organ web site: www.esteyorgan.com
     Kogstad, Rolf. "A Brief History of the Norwegian Seamen’s Church".
     Norwegian Seamen's Church web site: http://www.kjerka.com
     Trupiano, Larry. Factory Specification of M.P. Möller organ, Op. 5991 (1931).
     Trupiano, Larry. Information about Alvinza Andrews & Son organ and installation of blower by Midmer-Losh.

Illustrations:
     Bridge and Tunnel Club web site. Exterior of Manhattan church.
     Brooklyn Collection, Brooklyn Public Library. Brooklyn Daily Eagle photo of church (c.19--).
     Trupiano, Larry. Undated Postcard of church on Pioneer Street, Brooklyn.