St. Cecilia's Church & Convent
Saint Cecilia’s Church, built from 1883-87, is located at 120 East 106th Street in the section of East Harlem known as “El Barrio,” between Lexington and Park Avenues. The church was one of the first religious institutions built in the area. The building’s function as a Roman Catholic Parish has been in continuous use since 1884.
Reverend Hugh Flattery, the founding pastor of St. Cecilia Parish, established St. Cecilia’s in a small chapel within an East Harlem resort hotel on 105th Street in 1873. The congregation soon grew too large for the chapel and a larger, more permanent location was needed. When Flattery died in 1979, his successor, Rev. Monsignor William Flannelly, kept searching until he found its current site.
In March of 1881, Flannelly purchased four lots on East 106th Street. The residential-sized lots cost the church $25,800; about $665,000 today. The cornerstone of the new church was laid on September 9, 1883.