St. Brigid's Roman Catholic Church, or St. Brigid's, or Famine Church, is a church located on 123 Avenue B and East Seventh Street, on the eastern edge of Tompkins Square Park in the Alphabet City section of the East Village of Manhattan. Associated with the church is the parish school. Saint Brigid School consisting of grades Pre-K thru 8, has been in existence since 1856.
The church is named after St. Brigid, the patron saint of babies, blacksmiths, boatmen, cattle, chicken farmers, children whose parents are not married, dairymaids, dairy workers, fugitives, Ireland, mariners, midwives, nuns, poets, printing presses, scholars and travellers. Like the neighborhood it serves, Saint Brigid's Church has had a colorful and tumultuous history since its beginnings in 1848.
St. Brigid's and the East Village:
Throughout its history, St. Brigid's opened its doors to people who were more accustomed to having them shut in their New City. Beginning with its construction by Irish immigrants, the church accepted whoever showed up in its pews, even as the East Village changed from German to Irish to Puerto Rican to whoever landed on its doorsteps, in whatever shape. A special feature of the New York Times in 1901, mentioned the church among other Catholic structures in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, describing the group "for the most part...limit[ing] themselves to the functions of a parish church, in districts where social needs are otherwise supplied." Clarifying that the upper church was Irish and the basement used by Italians. In addition, the Sisters of Charity had a convent next door to the church, and there was an attached parochial school.