‘Rediscover’ the Eldridge Street Synagogue Ten Years After Its Restoration

Posted on: September 14th, 2017 at 5:11 am by

Tonight marks the opening of a new exhibition at the Eldridge Street Synagogue. “Rediscovery, Restoration, and Rediscovery: The Eldridge Street Synagogue in Photographs” celebrates the 10th anniversary of the restoration of the photogenic house of worship.

This rehabilitation was no small feat: it took twenty years and $20 million to restore the synagogue, which originally opened its doors in 1887.  Work began in 1987, and continued until 2007. The exhibit walks through the process, showcasing the building’s journey from the 1970s, when the synagogue was in rough shape (holes in the ceiling, stained glass on the floor), through its spectacular two-decade transformation process, and culminating with the addition of contemporary art designed by Kiki Smith and Deborah Gans in 2010.

As previously noted, the Eldridge Street Synagogue had it tough before the proverbial rebirth. Without a substantial congregation, the synagogue itself fell out of active use in the mid-1950s. The main sanctuary was sealed shut, while the ground floor “study” remained operational. Twenty years went by before the grand room was revisited, ruined by water and the elements. However, it wasn’t until 1986 that preservationist Roberta Brandes Gratz founded the Eldridge Street Project to save the institution. Through her guidance, the synagogue obtained landmark status and attracted donations from 18,000 supporters that went toward restoration.

The free opening reception is tonight, from 6-8pm at the Museum at Eldridge Street (12 Eldridge Street,  between Canal and Division Streets). Visitors will have the opportunity to view the show and tour the synagogue to see the results of the restoration.

The exhibit is on view through March 1, 2018; going forward, entrance to the exhibit will be included with museum admission.

 

Recent Stories

Chinatown Mom-and-Pops Hit by Vandals and Looting [PHOTOS]

The rioting and violence has clouded (and overwhelmed) the national protest movement formed in response to the controversial death of George Floyd by Minneapolis cops last month. It’s what dominates the narrative now. And no neighborhood is immune. Chinatown was also hard hit by looters this week. Mom-and-pop shops Buy Rite Pharmacy (215 Grand Street) […]

Protest Violence: LES Small Businesses Vandalized

A fifth night of protests spilled onto lower Orchard Street yesterday, as several businesses were vandalized. The Roasting Plant coffee shop, R&D (formerly Brigitte) on Canal street, and the Alexander Olch boutique, were all hit. Shattered windows and looting. It’s unclear what was taken from each store. With regard to Olch’s store, vandals tagged it […]

Scenes from the Looted Streets of Downtown [PHOTOS]

A weekend of violent protests and looting – fueled by the death of George Floyd at the hand of Minneapolis cops – left downtown Manhattan charred and shattered. Businesses in SoHo up to Union Square were some of the hardest hit. Boogie contributor Eddie Panta was eyewitness to the smash-and-grab bedlam. Part I: The Nike Store […]

DIY Banner Hung Above FDR Drive in Tribute to George Floyd

Whenever an event of significance hits the news, neighbors can easily expect a new banner unfurled on the Delancey Street foot bridge over the FDR. Indeed, for the third time in as many months, a new message. “I can’t breathe,” a tribute to George Floyd, for whom these were final words. While being placed in […]

Despite Lockdown, ‘Bel-Fries’ Overcrowded Ludlow Street with a Major Party on Sunday

What lockdown? In Hell Square, it’s almost as if the last few months were in vain. Sunday afternoon saw an overflowing party for the opening Bel-Fries on Ludlow Street. It was seemingly planned for maximum marketing value, despite the COVID-19 lockdown. A “Miami style” event with luxury cars, deejay booth, professional photo rigs, and plenty […]