1840s Townhouse on Rivington Street Gets Rear Yard Expansion

Posted on: March 19th, 2019 at 5:00 am by

The last remnant of the Roumanian-American Synagogue on Rivington Street is undergoing an expansion.

Department of Buildings finally issued permits last month to the owner of 95 Rivington Street – Lorenzo Giuffredi, per public records – for a rear-yard addition. The official green light arrives over five years after initial filing. Work on the extension is ongoing, but the box of blocks is now visible looking behind the decrepit fence into the vacant lot adjacent.

This new appendage creates an additional 1,200 square-feet of commercial space for the building, floor area the Danziger Gallery can’t take advantage of. The Chelsea refugee recently vacated the ground level after a quick two-year jaunt.

This severely-altered townhouse at 95 Rivington dates back to the 1840s, and was formerly part of the Roumanian-American Jewish Congregation, which collapsed in January 2006. The annex functioned as a Talmud Torah (Hebrew school) as evidenced by the ghost lettering across the entrance.

Meanwhile, the 76-foot-wide lot itself, still owned by the phantom synagogue, has been on and off the market for well over a decade. Previous asking prices skyrocketed north of $20 million. Probably more by now.

Even though Rabbi Shmuel Spiegel promised to someday rebuild the house of worship at 89 Rivington, it seems less and less likely these days. We all know it’s gonna be the next huge Hell Square tower, though. Eventually. From an article in The Villager dated 2006:

[Rabbi Shmuel Spiegel] said the congregation definitely plans to rebuild a synagogue on the spot, which is located between Ludlow and Orchard Sts.

“Like I always say, there will be a synagogue there,” he said.

“It feels terrible,” he said of having to demolish the historic brick building. “I really can’t describe it in words. My father died doing a circumcision in the synagogue. He kept the synagogue alive. A lot of roots — they go deep, deep into the ground.”

Hopefully, the new building will be completed in one and a half to two years, he said. They’ll try to incorporate salvaged elements from the former synagogue, such as the old stained-glass windows and the ark, to the greatest extent possible. Asked what style the new building would be, the rabbi said, “I would like to really try to replica a little.”

As for where the money will come from for the new project, he said, the rebuilding fund they started after the collapse could be doing better.

Recent Stories

Missed Paradise: Street Art Gets Buffed as Billboard Rises on Prince Street

Those anti-looting plywood barriers are coming down as stores are finally reopening. For street artists, though, it’s a mad scramble to reclaim the work they created to beautify the blight. Many artists continue to petition management of buildings, store owners, or simply salvaging them from the trash. Others are still producing work on the storefronts that […]

Velvette Brew Espresso Bar Opens on Stanton Street

Over at 85 Stanton Street, two years of vacancy just concluded. A new espresso bar is now on the grounds. As previously reported, this spot is the maiden Manhattan location for the Brooklyn-based Velvette Brew. (We’re told that the Prospect Park coffee shop closed in favor of the Lower East Side.) The former boutique is […]

Knife-Wielding Bike Thief Apprehended by Customers at Cluck’s Chicken on Essex Street

A would-be bike thief was apprehended at Cluck’s Chicken on Essex Street, then pulled a knife, police said. Last Monday (July 27), the victim parked his electric bike near the entrance and walked to the rear. Soon after, at roughly 2:45pm, there was a commotion as the suspect attempted to make away with the $1,500 […]

Rosario’s Pizza will Look for a New LES Location

Losing Rosario’s Pizza, much like its old neighbor Bereket, is the elimination of yet another connection to the old Lower East Side. The pizza joint held down the northwest corner of Orchard and Stanton Streets for more than twenty years, and spent the preceding decades just around the corner. However, the retirement of manager/owner Sal […]

Captain and Owners Arrested for Liberty Belle Booze Cruise off Pier 36

The captain and owners of a popular Manhattan party boat were arrested for defying coronavirus social distancing mandates and embarking on a crowded cruise, authorities said Sunday. Shortly after 8:00pm Saturday night, the Liberty Belle, a four-story river boat with a capacity of 600 people, left Pier 36 (Basketball City) for a booze cruise. More […]