When St. Finbar’s Church was established in 1880 -— not in the city of Brooklyn, but rather in the Town of New Utrecht — little did its worshippers know that 130 years later it would still be a thriving parish — and to some, the lifeblood of what would come to be known as the community of Bath Beach.
The faithful marked the milestone anniversary Sept. 10, with a dinner dance at Sirico’s Caterers at 80th Street and 13th Avenue, where they helped honor civic activist and fellow parishioner Eileen LaRuffa as part of celebrations for the history-seeped house of worship on Bay 20th Street at Bath Avenue.
LaRuffa received a Lifetime Achievement Award, and platitudes from, among others, Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge), state Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge) and Assemblyman Peter Abbate (D-Dyker Heights). Gentile also presented church pastor, Rev. Michael Gelfant, with a proclamation.
After Brooklyn annexed New Utrecht in 1894, worshippers rode horse-drawn cars down to 36th Street and Fifth Avenue, then a steam train of the Brooklyn, Bath, and Coney Island Railroad along New Utrecht Avenue to travel to church.— Shavana Abruzzo