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

Cops Tase Shooting Suspect who Pointed Loaded Gun at Officer on Columbia Street

Police tased a man suspected in an uptown shooting early Saturday morning on Columbia Street after he pointed a loaded firearm at an officer. 7th Precinct Police Officers Joseph Stokes and Daniel Amaral were reportedly driving along Columbia Street near Rivington Street at around 6am when they spotted a 2013 white Dodge Challenger that matched […]

‘Sunshine Cinema’ Gets its Demolition Death Shroud

Hope you got your final photos for posterity, as the facade of the Sunshine Cinema is forever lost. Demolition death shroud – consisting of scaffolding and netting – is now firmly in place, effectively obstructing progress of the takedown within. Owner-developers East End Capital and K Property Group, who together purchased the Lower East Side […]

Longtime Nightlife Promoter Eyes Vacated ‘Stanton Social’ Space for New Bar

Stanton Social is not five months in the grave, and we already have a preview of the next chapter. The collective ownership of the liquor license – twenty-four individuals, in fact – are divesting with a corporate change. Two new principles are instead taking the reins at 99 Stanton Street, effectively creating a new business. […]

With LES Gentrification at Critical Mass, the Time is Now to Pass Universal Rent Control [OP-ED]

Bob Angles, a resident living in one of the affordable units of Essex Crossing, penned the following editorial. Secondary displacement, better known as gentrification, has been creeping up and down our streets for the past decade. Yet, with the arrival of thousands of new, unregulated apartments between the Extell tower (i.e. One Manhattan Square) and […]

‘The First Time I Saw The Ramones’ at the 72 Gallery on Orchard Street

Photographer Tom Hearn spent the night of July 22, 1976 at the Acadia Ballroom in New Haven, Connecticut. Attending at the behest of friend Legs McNeil, co-founder of Punk Magazine, that was the first time he saw the Ramones play live. And he captured it on film for posterity. Now, those images are on display […]