Flatbush Church Restores Its Historic Pipe Organ

Our Lady of Refuge Church in Flatbush, Brooklyn is “pulling out all the stops” to restore its historic pipe organ.

The organ’s demise and resurrection mirrors demographic changes in the parish since the church was built in what was then a well-to-do Brooklyn neighborhood. Father Michael Perry says that the church’s construction costs, totalling $750,000 (about $13 million in today’s dollars), were paid for in cash. That was in 1933, in the midst of the Depression.

“If you look at the houses around here, even the apartment houses, they’re high ceilings, big apartments. I mean it was a pretty wealthy neighborhood,” he said.

The church held an organ recital on November 18 at Grace Church in Brooklyn Heights in a bid to raise the last $60,000 needed to finish refurbishment and reinstallation of the 1933 Kilgen Pipe organ.

In this slideshow, Father Perry talks about why he and Joe Vitacco, chair of the organ committee, have embarked on a project to bring organ music to the church’s mostly Caribbean and West Indian congregation.

The Business of Degrees and Money Majors

'2008-09-08_17-24-26' photo (c) 2008, TechCrunch50-2008 - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce recently released a study clearly showing, for the first time, the earning potential of certain majors versus others. Engineering, computers, and mathematics top the list of median earnings, although business degrees, at 25 percent of all degrees awarded, are the most popular.


But Peter Thiel argues that college is completely pointless if you’re interested in starting a new venture, and he’s put money into the game. Thiel (at right) is the PayPal co-founder and venture capitalist who’s giving 24 college kids $100,000 each to drop out of school and start their own businesses. Bloggers and commentators immediately criticized him, not only because he himself earned degrees at Stanford, but because his selection criteria of the best-and-the-brightest is essentially cherry-picking from those students talented enough to have gotten into the top schools at all. Continue reading