Why We are in Manhattan, New York City
Background and Burden
Manhattan, New York is an island where one can reach the world within just 22.83 square miles of space. One of New York City’s five boroughs, Manhattan is the second smallest county in the United States. Conversely with its 1.6 million people, Manhattan is the most densely populated county in the nation with over 71,000 residents per square mile. But there’s more! Manhattan’s population is much larger than that. On any normal work day, the commuter influx swells Manhattan’s number to over 3.9 million souls, or more than 170,000 people per square mile. This daytime population consists of approximately 1.61 million commuting workers, 1.46 million local residents, 404,000 out-of-town visitors, 374,000 local day-trip visitors, 17,000 hospital patients, and 70,000 commuting students. Manhattan has the greatest increase in population during the day among all U.S. counties. Its complex maze of tunnels, bridges, railroad lines, subways, commuter rail, ferry systems, bicycle lanes, and pedestrian walkways link Manhattan to the surrounding counties, cities and towns.
Manhattan is also an economic powerhouse anchored by Wall Street. It is an iconic cultural center highlighted by such places like Broadway and Lincoln Center. It is home to landmark museums, and it is a vast storehouse of ethnic diversity with a plethora of famous neighborhoods like Harlem, Chinatown, and Greenwich Village. Manhattan is a tourist attraction as over 55 million people annually come to see Times Square, Central Park, or the Statue of Liberty. It is a destination for international students and first-generation immigrants from all over the world. Manhattan is a world capital and the home to the United Nations.
Nevertheless, Manhattan is neglected by Bible-believing Christians with at best only a few Independent Baptist Churches. It is a spiritual ground zero. About 56% of Manhattanites claim no religion and only about 4% say they they are evangelical Protestants.
Therefore we believe Manhattan is in greater need than ever for Bible-believing, Christ-exalting, Independent Baptist churches like Heritage Baptist Church. “The Lord’s voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name” (Micah 6:9). Heritage Baptist Church was born in May 1996 and has consisted of a diverse group of New Yorkers from all the boroughs as well as Long Island and New Jersey, all ethnicities and all age groups. We have met in rented facilities in the Chelsea, Midtown, Greenwich Village and the Murray Hill sections of Manhattan. These communities are in dire need of the Gospel. We believe that God has “much people in this city” as in Corinth of old (Acts 18:10). The God who said “should not I spare Nineveh,” a city full of corruption and violence, has a love to also spare New York City.