Why is this building significant?
The first major synagogue built on Manhattan’s Lower East Side by Eastern European Jews, this building is a symbol of the massive waves of immigration that would transform the City’s Jewish community, and the City itself, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The building’s monumental façade provides a sharp contrast to the surrounding streetscape dominated by tenements. The structure imaginatively mixes Gothic, Romanesque, and Moorish elements. Inside, the barrel-vaulted sanctuary incorporates an ornately carved walnut balcony, designed to accommodate women during gender-segregated worship services, as well as generously scaled stained glass windows. In 2010 a stained-glass window designed by artist Kiki Smith and architect Deborah Gans was added.
What did the New York Landmarks Conservancy do?
In the 1980s we provided a total of $104,000 in loans towards the early restoration effort of this historic synagogue. Grants totaling $28,000 helped secure later architectural and engineering services and stained-glass-window restoration. A subsequent $5,000 grant allowed the restoration and repair of the lower front door and fire escape doors. An additional $16,000 grant paid for the restoration of the building’s oculus, and a $25,000 grant guided installation of security enhancements. In 2022 we provided a $20,000 grant toward the replacement of the synagogue’s boiler.