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EXCLUSIVE: Nuns selling Angel Guardian Home

On the block: The Sisters of Mercy are selling Dyker Heights’ block-sized Angel Guardian Home — a former orphanage, according to a local pol.
Brooklyn Daily
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This orphanage is up for adoption!

The Sisters of Mercy are selling Dyker Heights’ sprawling Angel Guardian Home. The nuns, who operated an orphanage there until the 1970s, can’t afford to keep up the city-block-sized campus, but they won’t need alms after the sale, a local pol joked.

“My assumption is that it’s worth a lot of money,” said Assemblyman Peter Abbate (D–Bensonhurs­t). “Every nun is gonna get a Mercedes. It’s gonna be the richest order around.”

An education advocate didn’t think it was a sin to covet the convent, considering the district is one of the city’s most overcrowded.

“I want that site,” said Laurie Windsor, president of the District 20 Community Education Council. “I’m putting it on my list. That’s a lot — a lot — of seats. I’m sending an e-mail to the [Schools Construction Authority] right when I get home.”

The grounds take up an entire block — roughly the area of three football fields — between 12th and 13th avenues and 63rd and 64th streets. The lot is zoned for rowhouses, and a developer could build up to three stories on the land, city records show.

Abbate added that he will petition the School Construction Authority to look at siting a school, and hopes the giant space will “maintain its purpose as a force of good in the community.”

“If we can get the city to buy it, it would be nice to put a couple of schools there maybe some senior housing in the area,” he said. “We could always use another regular junior high for zoned students and a grammar school.”

The nuns sold a piece of land on the other side of 64th street in 1989, and a developer built row houses there a year later, records show.

The Sisters built Angel Guardian Home in 1899, housing hundreds of children until the 1970s. The campus now houses the offices for the Sisters’ foster care program and a senior center. A Montessori school operated there until recently, Abbate said.

The order, called the Walking Sisters for their on-foot outreach, hung their habits at a Clinton Hill nunnery for more than a century before walking away in 2008 because they needed more than $20 million to fix their iconic-but-crumbling convent.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at dlynch@cnglocal.com.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019: Context added.
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