St. Michael's

"St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church was erected on the east side of Jerome Street (formerly John Street) near Atlantic Avenue, upon 4 lots purchased from Jacob H. Sackman for the sum of $500. The cornerstone was laid on April 18th, 1860 and on July 8th the most Reverend Bishop Loughlin dedicated the little church and placed it under the patronage of the glorious Archangel Michael."
-from 'Old Days and Old Ways in East New York'
The original congregation of 53 parishioners met in the home of Jacob Miller at Jamaica Plank Road and Fanchon Place. The congregation was formally organized on January 25, 1860.

Thanks to Bob Reddington for sending in a detailed history along with early images.

St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church, East New York
Maker: Souvenir Post Card Co. Dated: 1907 Status: Own(BG)

St. Michael's Church
Dated:1910 Maker: P. Miller Status: Own (BG)
Early shots of the first church. This is on Jerome St. near Atlantic. Built by Martin Bennett, a well known builder in East New York. The building measured fifty feet long by thirty-five feet wide and cost $2,536. It faces a constant challenge to deal with a fast growing congregation. In 1876 it is doubled in length and in 1899 a side chapel was added to the north side. Another expansion added a side aisle in 1912.
This 1909 postcard Lines up the early buildings. The church constructs a wood frame building in 1864 which serves as a rectory upstairs and the first classrooms downstairs. This building is enlarged in 1897 and becomes the monastery. In 1872 the school is growing so fast that the Dominican Sisters are invited in to teach. Under the guidance of Mother Seraphina, O.P., two additional lots are purchased and the three-story sister's home is constructed in 1873.
Phil Mastriano shared this great pic of his mother's first communion group at St. Michael's circa 1911. I haven't quite figured out where this was taken. Phil followed up with a great image, circa 1915, of his mother's class. We believe this was the girl's commerical high school. Phil did confirm his mother attended the high school and believes it was called St. Michaels Domenican High School.








St. Michael's School, Liberty Avenue and Warwick St.
Maker: P. Miller Dated: 1910 Status: Need
The small space in the rectory building quickly becomes inadequate and the two lots next to the rectory are purchased. A one story wood frame structure is built in 1868. Although this building survived as a Pre-K until the new brick church was built, I have not found an image yet.

In 1897, the Bishop Rev. Charles McDonnell invites the Capuchin Fathers to work in the diocese. The Rectory is converted into a monastery and ground is broken in 1898 for a new school. Designed by Ditmar and Schickl, the three-story structure cost $43,000 to build. The granite statue of St. Michael over the doorway was donated by Teresa Nuber. The school opens December 1st, 1899. Bob Reddington supplied the early photo on the bottom. You can see the new church peeking out on the right so this photo dates from at least the 1920s. Note the bell tower on the school, which no longer exists.
Al Pugliese sent this image he found which we believe was taken circa 1908. It was taken in the empty lot on the west side of the building looking east.
Liberty Avenue, looking east, showing St. Michaels School
Maker: Kraus Dated: Unk Status: Own (RG)
This Kraus card shows the empty lot next to the school and the east view.
Liberty Ave., Looking West from Warwick and St. Michael's School
Dated:1910 Maker: Wm. Fick Status: Own (RG)
The school building is now currently used as an annex of P.S. 65. Around 1979 St. Michael's and St. Malachy's put the grade schools together as the St. John Neumann school. Now housed in the former high school, the name has been changed back to St. Michael's. Thanks to a current resident for the 2006 photo.
St. Michael's Commercial High School.
As with the church, the school quickly becomes overcrowded. One solution was to divide the auditorium on the 3rd floor into classrooms in 1907. One of those classrooms is dedicated to its first commercial school for girls, consisteing of 4 students under Sr. M Ambrose, O.P. Courses are given in Religion, Typing, Shorthand, Bookkeeping and Business Arithmetic. In 1909 St. Michael's announces a contract for $60,000 to construct a new building to serve as both a monastery, school building, and meeting hall. The building is dedicated on January 17, 1910 by Bishop McDonnell. At this point in time the Brother of Mary are invited in and they teach grades 5 through 8 in the new building which also serves as their residence.

The girl's commercial program remains in the corner school building. By 1917 the program has expanded to two years and classes in Spanish and Business Law are added. In 1941 the Brothers of Mary leave and the girls school is moved into the building. My aunt attended the school in this building in the 1940s. It was a two year trade school for girls, and my aunt attended in the 1940s. I cover more on the history and the building of a new school below.
St. Michael's, 1922
The Armbruster photo on the left highlights some major changes. Despite the numerous expansions to the old church, space continues to be a problem and the cornerstone for a new brick church was blessed on October 17, 1920 . The original wood frame building that served as the first schoolhouse, rectory, then Monastery was moved to the corner of Jerome and Liberty. The Capuchin Friars moved into the new monastery facing Warwick Street in 1921. The church was dedicated June 25, 1922. Note next to the new church the original wood frame convent has been replaced by brick structure, completed 1916. These Armbruster photos show both the old church and the new church side by side; the old church was torn down shortly thereafter.
Graduation Class, 1932
Thanks to Thomas Schmidt who sent in this image of his mother Rita Eveland's (circled) graduation class in 1932.
Report card, 1939
My uncle's report card showing there was a commercial program for boys as well.
> St. Michael's 1st Holy Communion, 1945
Taking a break from history, from Rod Maggio (2nd row from top, far right), his first communion May 6, 1945. On the right, his sister Angela posing in the garden in the 1940s.
St. Michael's Graduation Class, 1943 and 1947
My dad is in the 1947 shot, first row all the way to the right.
St. Michael's First Communion, circa 1948
Elise Feiner sent over this photo of her cousin Joseph Mainella's first communion in 1948 or 1949 .
Jerome Street, 1949
Two views of Jerome Street around the same era. This great shot on the left from Rod Maggio dates to his sister's confirmation in 1949. The view is north towards Atlantic in front of the Convent. That's his sister Angela, Ida (mom) Maggio, Carol "Errico" Maggio, Rod, Joseph (dad) Maggio, Angela & Frank Lualdi (noni & grandpa). Rod recalls; "Sister Helen, didn't actually care for or like Italian American Public School kids in her Religious Instruction Classes Wednesdays 2 to 3:30, Sundays after 9 am Mass, we were "marched" out the side door, into the school building until 11:30".
The second view, a few years later looking south down Jerome comes from Bob Reddington.
St. Michael's Wedding 1952
Therese Panariello sent over these interior shots from her parent's wedding in 1952.
My father and uncles were members of St. Michaels and were part of the church bowling team in the 1950s.
New St. Michael's Commerical High School
The first image is the northeast corner of Liberty and Jerome before 1953. The old rectory building, now transplanted, becomes the custodian's house. Rod Maggio recalls the house was occupied by the LaRocca family. On the right, circa December 1953, the house has been cleared. Note the belltower is now gone from the schoolhouse. Thanks to Bob Reddington for these images.
New St. Michael's Commercial High School
The building is constructed 1954-1955 and we can see the framework going up in the first image. The second image is shortly after completion. The building includes the Father Paschal memorial center which is used for the opening celebration in December, 1955. Classes first move into the building in January 1956. The school becomes a 4 year high school and takes the St. Michael's name. Angela (Maggio) Carucci attended at that time and recalls the uniform was a green jumper with a yellow blouse but the former Dominican students were allowed to wear the original brown for the remainder of the year. Therese Panariello recalls there were underground passages connecting the buildings though the sisters complained about the cost of lighting those tunnels! The high school closed in the mid 70s and now houses the grammar school. Thanks to Angela, Rod and Therese for the background info. Thanks again to Bob Reddington for the images.
St. Michael's 1st Communion, circa 1958
Frank Moscatelli supplied this 1st Communion photo, taken around 1958.
Bob Reddington sent in these mid 1950s images of a number of the Capuchin Fathers: Fr. Godrey Leuchinger, Fr. Paschal Ahearn, Fr. Aiden Neenan, and Fr. Sigmund Haffemann.
Completing the series from Bob Reddington, Fr. Anthony McInerney, Fr. Justin Joos, and Fr. Capistran Ferritto.
Bob did not forget the Dominican Sisters, he supplied a picture of them as well.
St. Michael's Dance
We don't have the date for this event yet, But I'm certain we will get it- Johnny Mathis and the WMCA Good Guys come to St. Michaels. These great shots come from Charles Passantino. Sal Boccio adds; "I recall seeing lots of Rock 'n Roll celebrities at the St. Michael's dances including the 5 Discs, Dion, Johnny Mathis, Kathy Jeanne and the Room mates, Brian Hyland was a regular (Itsy Bitsy Tiny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini) !" We heard from John Lamberti Sr., who was in the group The Fabulaires. They performed that night and he noted the year was 1964. "Our record came out the fall of 1963, and we were doing shows with the major singing groups at that time. I remember when we got to St. Michaels that there were over 1000 kids outside taking pictures of the performers that were there that night. we were the second group before Johnny Mathis. the place was packed."
> St. Michael's Dance
The third picture in that series. Liz (Cerverizzo) Sanford recalls; "By the way the WMCA GOODGUYS appeared for a XMAS dance at St. Michael's the top 10 on the charts appeared, which included Vito & the Salutations. It was $1.00 dollar to get in or a toy donation for children in need. You had to be 13 (or) older to get in, I was 12, but tall and my friends got me in, I'll never forget that experience. I don't know if you are aware that one of the GoodGuys was a parishioner of St. Michael's. "
Thanks to Lenore Catapano for the scan of her dance pass! From Carol Outram; "The group that stands out most that I saw was Shep and the Limelights - Daddy's Home. I had never heard the song before and they played it at the Friday night dance. The next day they played it on WMCA and I was dancing and yelling around the house that I'd seen them the night before."
St. Michael's gym, 2006
The same gym, 40+ years later. Now used by the grade school.
St. Michael's newspaper,The Victor 1962
Thanks to Judy Close's sister Erin for a copy of the front page of a 1962 edition of The Victor. That's Erin, front row left, as part of a team that won a stenography competition.
St. Michael's Yearbook1962
Erin also sent over a shot of the 1962 yearbook.
St. Michael's 1963
Marylu Kelly sends over Mrs. Eisman's 3rd grade class in 1963 and takes a stab at Iding her classmates;
"Top Row… (?) Theresa Vaccaro, (?) Karen Arnone, Debbie Boushay, Leana Giamo, Vivian Parisi, Pat Bubek, (?), (?), Joann Vaccaro
Second Row : Mark Mifsud. Louis Conti, Vincent Romeo, Mike DePaoli, Joseph Novak, (?), Ubaldo Rodriques, Joseph Ieradi, Jerry Eagleston, Frederico (?)
Third Row (sitting)…(?) AnnaMarie Lampasona, Diane Della Ratta, Janice Baltricitus, Victoria Cotto, Martina Kulak, Teresa Cimino, (?) Sitting on Floor (?), (?) Charlie Kernochan .
St. Michael's, 1964
Thanks to Liz (Cerverizzo) Sanford for sharing her 1964 class pic and the cover of the graduation program featuring the statue of St. Michael.
2nd grade, 1966
Thanks to Dennis Hehl for his well worn 2nd grade class picture from 1966. Thanks to Jose Flores for sending in the picture of the other second grade class!
3rd grade, 1966
Marylu Howell-Kelly supplied both third class pictures and keys, noting that it is THE Steve Buscemi in her class picture on the left.
Key: Top Row.. Frances Clementi, Eleanor Deliberti, Frances Emiddio, Linda Kuhn, Carolyn Putos, Dolores Fischetti, Marylu Howell, Renata Balunus, Joanne Alexander Second Row… Gregory Mazurkeiwitz, ?, Raymond Dublis, Paul Seidman, John Arnone, Kenneth Carroll, Ubaldo Rodriguez, Jeffrey Sands, ? , Raymond Tierney Third Row… Michele Cassano, Jeannette Mantia, Matilda Gongong, Joanne Saracino, Mary-Theresa Yasadavitch, Linda Amato Forth Row… Rocco Castellano, Eddie Pugatz, Joel Boccio, Louis Barone, John Gallagher, Eddie Cronin, ?, ? Fifth Row (on floor)… Jimmy ?, William Canella, Gene Barone, Peter Krebs, Steven Buscemi, Frank Kerwin..
Key for picture on the right
Top Row… (?) Theresa Vaccaro, (?) Karen Arnone, Debbie Boushay, Leana Giamo, Vivian Parisi, Pat Bubek, (?), (?), Joann Vaccaro Second Row : Mark Mifsud. Louis Conti, Vincent Romeo, Mike DePaoli, Joseph Novak, (?), Ubaldo Rodriques, Joseph Ieradi, Jerry Eagleston, Frederico (?) Third Row (sitting)…(?) AnnaMarie Lampasona, Diane Della Ratta, Janice Baltricitus, Victoria Cotto, Martina Kulak, Teresa Cimino, (?) Sitting on Floor (?), (?) Charlie Kernochan
5th grade, 1966
Thanks to Jim Kelley for his 5th grade class picture from 1966

Confirmation, 1967
Jamie Rubino sent in this confirmation pic of herself circa 1967 next to her grandmother Anna Maceli.
St. Michael's Graduation, 1967
Leonora Licata sent over this shot taken June 23, 1967 outside St. Michael's after graduation. The second shot was slightly damaged- taken while assembling on Jerome Street between the school and the church.
Yearbook, 1967
An extremely well-done yearbook, with loads of pictures from events during the school year. I have placed a number of scans on a 1967 Yearbook page.
St. Michael's, 1970
Thanks also to Liz for this beautiful interior image of St. Michael's circa 1970 during the holiday season.
St. Michael's, 1971
Thanks to Michael DePaoli for this graduation pic with his mother Bernadette in June 1971.
St. Michael's, 1st Grade 1974
Thanks to Kathleen Remsen for her first grade class picture.
St. Michael's, Class 7-2 1976
Thanks to Theresa Libretti-Kernisan (2nd row, third from right) for the 1976 class 7-6 picture. Theresa's dad, Louis Libretti, owned the typewriter store on Liberty Avenue. .
St. Michael's High School, cheerleaders 1976
OK, there's Catholic schoolgirl fantasies, cheerleader fantasies, how about Catholic school cheerleaders? Thanks to Therese Panariello who scanned her 1976 yearbook for these images. Therese even identifies JoAnne Florio as the one on the far right clapping her hands.
St. Michael's High School, 1976
Also from the yearbook, a shot of the Junior Prom in 1976.
St. Michael's High School, Cross Country 1976
Two shots from the 1976 yearbook of the cross country team at Highland Park. Thanks to Therese for the scans.
125th Anniversary article
Rod Maggio sent over this Daily News article from 1985 covering the 125th Anniversary. Rod notes the author, Bill Neugerbauer, was a long time parishioner and ENY resident who passed away back in 2001.
Neil Sullivan supplied the 2006 photo on the left. Vincent Luongo contributed the 2005 photo on the right of the schoolyard and a reminder of the many feasts that were a staple of the neighborhood.