Rabbi Proposes Demolition of Torched Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Synagogue on Norfolk Street

Posted on: June 19th, 2017 at 5:04 am by

It’s not looking good for the once illustrious Beth Hamedrash Hagadol. Mendel Greenbaum, rabbi of the fire-ravaged house of worship, filed an application with the Landmarks Preservation Commission to demolish the centuries-old structure.

There had been plans in the immediate aftermath of the three-alarm blaze, intentionally set by a 14-year-old boy, to potentially rehabilitate the synagogue. That obviously changed after assessing the scope of the damage. Prior to the blaze, restoration of the city landmark was estimated at $4.5 million, an amount that supposedly kept many developers away from the potential project.

Neither Department of Buildings inspectors nor independent consultants have reportedly been able to access the premises, which is collapsed and filled with rubble. But the consensus seems to warrant demolition.

Before this can happen, though, the proposal will first be heard before the Landmarks subcommittee of Community Board 3 tomorrow night. It was a late addition to the June agenda a few days ago.

14-year-old David Diaz set ablaze the 167-year-old Beth Hamedrash Hagadol on May 14. He was arrested days after the massive fire and charged with third-degree arson. A day later, though, the minor was released into parental custody without any charges. His two pals who were with him during the burn job – he allegedly lit a curtain on fire – were considered “witnesses,” according to NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill.

Police also believe that Diaz was likewise behind a small fire at the same synagogue one week earlier (May 7).

You can be sure developers are champing at the bit now…

Recent Stories

More Bowery Buildings Demolished for 11-Story Mixed-Use Development

Time has come for 139-141 Bowery, properties which have been on death row since 2014. The city finally issued demolition permits for the two buildings earlier this month, a couple years after Department of Buildings approved the plans. Wrecking crew are now on scene to begin the dismantling. As reported, the tax lots of 139-141 Bowery […]

Following DKNY, Hollister Mural Disappears Behind 6-Story Office Development

Over at “SoHo’s most impactful corner,” 606 Broadway gradually ascends skyward, blocking out what was once a vacant sliver of city-owned land. Two towers of the rising superstructure are also starting to obstruct the Hollister ad branding on the north face of 600 Broadway. Madison Capital, which purchased the 6,190 square-foot parcel from the city for […]

Upscale ‘New Stand’ Newsstand Takes Over Patricia Field Store on the Bowery

Incoming. This week brings word that a replacement has been found for the former Patricia Field store on the Bowery. The New Stand, a chain that dubs itself as what would happen if “your favorite blog and your favorite bodega had a baby,” just inked a lease with landlord Thor Equities. According to the Real […]

At More Than 60 Stories, Extell’s Inescapable ‘One Manhattan Square’ Dwarfs the Manhattan Bridge

It finally happened. The Manhattan Bridge is now dwarfed by its neighbor, One Manhattan Square. With Two Bridges residents focused squarely on stopping the three supertall developments invading the area, the controversial “trailblazer,” Extell’s One Manhattan Square, remains the 800-foot elephant on the waterfront. Three years into construction, the superstructure is getting glassed, and has […]

You Can Now Watch LES-Based ‘Off Track Betty’ Online

If you missed the showing of Clayton Dean Smith’s Off Track Betty at the Friends of the Elizabeth Street Garden Film Festival, you have another chance yet. Pulling down accolades from the 2016 Brooklyn Film Festival, the nineteen-minute short is now available for your online viewing pleasure, free of charge. The film tells the story of a longtime […]