LPC to Rescind Landmark Status of Demolished Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Site

Posted on: June 11th, 2020 at 5:00 am by

Hollowed out by fire exactly three years ago, the Norfolk Street lot that hosted Beth Hamedrash Hagadol for over a century is closer to being de-landmarked. Another step toward massive re-development.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission reportedly voted last month to calendar a rescission vote for 60 Norfolk Street. Meaning, tearing down the protective designation that had been in place for decades, as there is no longer any architectural, historic, or cultural significance onsite.

These types of votes are apparently rare at the LPC, which will hear the case on June 30.

After the fire, May 2017

Congregation Beth Hamedrash Hagodol was the first American congregation established by immigrants from the Russian Empire, and was the oldest Russian Orthodox house of worship in the country. The historic Gothic Revival structure it occupied 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 1967 landmark designation, the LPC found 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.”

Membership dwindled over the decades, and the shul finally shut in 2007. Current Rabbi Mendel Greenbaum left the property exposed to the elements, holding out for potential redevelopment. To that end, six years later, he petitioned the city to remove the protective status, but retreated.

Dec. 2010

In May 2017, a teenaged arsonist torched Beth Hamedrash Hagadol. The three-alarm fire was nearly absolute in its destruction, leaving behind one tower and a mountain of rubble. (It took another two years, and the death of a construction worker, for cleanup to complete.)

And a chance for new development.

Photo: Dattner Architects

In April, Dattner Architects filed paperwork to construct the two-tower development known as GO Broome, which sits adjacent to the wall of new buildings that is Essex Crossing. The filing came weeks after City Council approved the rezoning of this parcel to accommodate such a large mass of real estate.

It’s composed of nearly 520,000 square-feet, spread across 488 apartments, commercial retail, and community facilities. Of the unit tally, 115 residences are affordable housing for seniors. There is also a 4,000 square-foot commercial condo for Beth Hamedrash Hagodol.

Recent Stories

Borough President Implores Parks Commissioner to Address Community Concerns in Sara D. Roosevelt Park

Two stabbings within a twelve-hour period last weekend highlighted the decrepit, yet dangerous state of Sara D. Roosevelt Park. The violence apparently pushed Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer to exert pressure on the Parks Department to address certain core issues. In a letter to Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff this week, Brewer identified two key concerns – […]

Loved Ones Crowdfunding for Grubhub Deliveryman Stabbed to Death on the LES

Loved ones have taken to online crowdfunding platform GoFundMe to help raise money for the Grubhub deliveryman stabbed to death in Sara D. Roosevelt Park last weekend. As reported, the incident transpired early Saturday morning near the Hester Playground in Sara D. Roosevelt Park. Surveillance footage shows that the attacker sat on the bench next […]

Coastal Resiliency Project Forces Lower East Side Ecology Center Compost Yard to Staten Island

The Lower East Side Ecology Center has its walking papers. The local nonprofit is amidst a move, relocating the East River compost yard it called home for the last two decades. Over the last week or so, the 22-year-old compost yard was dismantled, as the East Side Coastal Resilience Project is set to break ground […]

‘Citi Bites’ Takes Hell Square Corner

Another fast food option is coming to Hell Square. Citi Bites, not Citi Bikes, is described as a “modern deli,” this month signed a lease for the 2,000 square-foot cornershop at 101 Stanton Street. It takes the place of the former Prema hair salon which closed earlier this year. The bodega business reportedly agreed to […]

Police Release Chilling Video in Murder of Delivery Worker in Sara D. Roosevelt Park

Police released chilling new surveillance video showing the approached the defenseless delivery worker, moments before allegedly murdering him and stealing the electronic bike on the Lower East Side. As reported, the incident transpired early Saturday morning near the Hester Playground in Sara D. Roosevelt Park. The footage shows the attacker sitting on the bench next […]