Angel Orensanz Center Reopens After a Year-Long Closure Due to Structural Instability
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In retrospect, that two-week comeback timeline quoted for the Angel Orensanz Center was really three months. The headquarters at 172 Norfolk Street – built in 1849 – has finally reopened after a year-long closure due to structural instability. Yesterday afternoon, the gates were open, the sanctuary filled with people. Apparently there was some sort of memorial service being held there.
The official reopening actually happened rather quietly two weeks ago, according to a Facebook announcement. So, now the Angel Orensanz Center is back in business for events. However, no word just yet on the bevy of lawsuits regarding rescheduled events and a lack of reimbursement. In particular, a relocated wedding and a “botched” bar mitzvah ceremony.
Angel Orensanz had closed in March 2014 when ceiling joists holding up the balconies reportedly cracked. Guests at the Soho Rep fundraiser fete heard loud pops and noticed the sagging upper floor. The Fire department promptly showed and shut the facility immediately. A full vacate order was issued by the Department of Buildings.
The Angel Orensanz Center is a landmark synagogue at 172 Norfolk Street, built in 1849 to house the Reform congregation of Anshe Chesed (“People of Kindness”). It was designated as such in 1987, a year after Spanish artist Angel Orensanz purchased the property. Before that acquisition and subsequent restoration, the building had been abandoned.