Beth Hamedrash Hagadol is a Nub of its Former Self [PHOTOS]

Posted on: January 2nd, 2018 at 9:49 am by

After weeks of demolition activity, the 167-year-old Beth Hamedrash Hagadol synagogue is merely a nub of its former self.

Even before the fire, the house of worship, a crowned city landmark, was long in demise. Its steward, Rabbi Greenbaum, essentially let the place gradually rot since closure of the congregation back in 2007. The flames, sparked by a teenage arsonist, erased the property ten years later.

The demolition work is reportedly under the careful watch of an engineer hired by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and includes removal of the unstable building components. However, marching orders are to save as much of the historic site as possible. Once the property is re-stabilized, plans are in the offing for the Chinese-American Planning Council to convert the fire-scorched property into an extension of the Hong Ning senior housing next door.

The historic Gothic Revival synagogue was built in 1850 as a Baptist church and purchased by the Beth Hamedrash Hagadol congregation in 1885 for $45,000 (about $1.2 million today). In its declaration of landmark status, the Landmarks Commission found in 1967 that “Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Synagogue has a special character, special historical and aesthetic interest, and value as part of the development, heritage and cultural characteristics of New York City.”

Recent Stories

‘Ariel’s Bistro’ at Clinton and Houston Calls it Quits

Ariel’s Latin Bistro, which arrived on the Lower East Side nightlife scene in June 2014, is down for the count. The bar-restaurant closed last week with little notice to the neighborhood. And while the decorative lights still gleam within, leasing signs in the windows cancel it out. That Ariel’s shuttered isn’t out of the blue. […]

Chinatown Honors Parkland School Massacre Hero Peter Wang

A vigil was held yesterday afternoon in Kimlau Square to honor Brooklyn-born Peter Wang, who was tragically killed in the Parkland high school shooting last week. The gathering was organized by the United Fujian Association. Wang was a cadet in the U.S. Army’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. When […]

14-Story Hotel Development Reactivated at Vacant Eldridge Street Lot

It’s been two years since we learned about the new hotel planned for 79 Eldridge Street, the long-vacant lot situated south of Grand. Despite the submission of building plans to the city back in March 2016, inactivity has been the trend here. No longer. As of last week, the green-hued perimeter plywood is now constructed […]

Siggy’s Good Food is Closing Down this Weekend

Siggy’s Good Food will end its restaurant business this weekend after thirteen years. The Elizabeth Street outpost – on the block since 2012 – closes for good on Saturday. “Goodbye, NYC, you gave us wings and now it’s time to fly,” reads the official announcement. Siggy’s eponymous owner is apparently off to Charlotte with its […]

7-Story Matzo Factory Condos Top Out on Rivington Street

The Streit’s name hasn’t held court on the Lower East Side since demolition of 148-154 Rivington Street commenced in the summer of 2016. Now, in its place, teaser signage for the upper crust newcomer which just topped out last week. The token signal of apex – an American flag – was planted atop the seven-story […]