As the number of Russian immigrants living in East New York plummeted over the latter half of the 20th century, this church fell on hard times. It has experienced a revival in recent years, however, thanks to the tireless efforts of its current priest, Father Vladimir Alexeev.
The church was locked today, but once, a few years ago, I was lucky enough to pass by on a Sunday with a group of friends. We were just standing on the sidewalk, admiring the architecture, when someone popped out and invited us in. The interior of the church is stunning, bright and airy, flooded with natural light from the massive clear-glass windows. In accordance with Orthodox tradition, there are no pews — the worshipers stand, scattered about, for the duration of the service — which imbues the space with a boundaryless sense of openness and communality that I had never before experienced in a church. We only hung around for a few minutes, but it's one of my most vivid memories of New York so far.