Landmarked Synagogue Seeks Demolition Approval

Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, 60 Norfolk Street.

There’s big news tonight concerning Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, the historic synagogue at 60 Norfolk Street.  The leadership of the shuttered site has filed an application with the Landmarks Preservation Commission seeking permission to demolish the building to make way for a new residential development.  Their proposal calls for a mixed-use complex with a new synagogue on the ground floor.

Commission spokesperson Elisabeth De Bourbon confirmed a short time ago that the application has been received, and that LPC staff would be reviewing it.  When that process is complete, the matter will be brought before the full commission. Beth Hamedrash Hagadol was declared a city landmark in 1967.  In recent years, fire, water damage and a failure to maintain the building have all contributed to the building’s degradation. Rabbi Mendl Greenbaum made the decision to close the synagogue four years ago.

Tenement Museum’s New Shop Life Tour Connects Past and Present

The facade at 97 Orchard Street, home of the Tenement Museum’s new “Shop Life” tour. Photo by Keiko Niwa, courtesy of the Tenement Museum.

If you’re looking for a fun holiday activity to do with friends or family visiting from out of town, “Shop Life,” the Tenement Museum‘s new interactive tour is an interesting way to spend a few hours. It examines the stories of business owners who lived and worked at 97 Orchard Street from 1863 to 1988.

The tour begins in a re-creation of John and Caroline Schneider’s 19th century beer saloon and community gathering spot, the Schneider Saloon. Visitors explore the dining room, kitchen and private quarters of the Schneider family, who lived behind the saloon. A vivid recreation of what life was like in “Little Germany” is presented with news clippings, photos, furniture, food and other items from the time period.

Lower East Sideways

This month’s editorial cartoon from Evan Forsch, first published in the December/January issue of The Lo-Down’s print magazine.

Holidays 2012: Keeping It Local on the LES

Image via Delicate Raymond’s Facebook page.

Time is winding down to finish up your Christmas shopping.  But no fear, the LES has you covered! Here’s the latest installment of our “Keeping it Local” holiday guide.

  • Delicate Raymond at 73 Orchard Street has a wide selection of vintage jewelry priced at $5.  No that’s not a typo.
  • Jewelry designer Andy Lifschutz has a truck show today and this evening at Spiritual America, 5 Rivington Street.  The holiday party, from 5-9 p.m., will offer a first glance at Lifschutz’s “Garbo Collection.”   There’s also a 15% discount on all non-jewelry items.
  • There will be a holiday lighting ceremony this afternoon at 4 at the southwest corner of Mott and Canal streets.  City Council member Margaret Chin will do the honors.
  • Reid Farrington’s edgy Christmas Carol at the Abrons Arts Center only has three more shows.  Click here for tickets.


Wine Bar Serving “Southeast Asian Street Food” Proposed at 49 Canal Street

49 Canal Street was once the home of Overseas Taste Malaysian restaurant.

It’s been several months since Overseas Taste Restaurant, a popular Malaysian spot, called it quits at 49 Canal Street.  Now community board documents show a new venture is in the works at this location. In January, Demetrios Klidonas will go before CB3 to detail plans for a wine bar serving tapas-style plates inspired by Southeast Asian street food.

Klidonas, who (according to his online profile) was involved wth Isadora’s Cafe on East 54th Street for 30 years, is seeking a full bar.  The restaurant would be open 11 a.m.-midnight weekdays and 11 a.m.-2 a.m. on weekends.

This particular area has been attracting a lot of interest of late from real estate investors and nightlife operators.  The transformation of the Jarmulowsky Bank Building into a boutique hotel is a major reason why.  49 Canal Street is located between Ludlow and Orchard streets. It’s just a few steps away from Les Enfants Terribles and Clandestino.  Grotto and Forgetmenot are just a stone’s throw away on Division Street.

CB3’s SLA Committee will hear Klidonas’s pitch Monday, january 7 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the JASA/Green building, 200 East 5th Street.

Morning Reads: More Post-Sandy Grants, Gun Control Politics, ABC No Rio Q&A

  • The Partnership for New York City Fund and Asian Americans for Equality have created a grant program to help downtown businesses recover from Sandy (NY1).
  • Many in Chinatown are unsurprised by the arrests earlier this week in connection with a large immigration fraud investigation (Sing Tao Daily via Voices of NY).
  • Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says he hopes the Newtown school massacre will finally cause the Senate to act on gun control legislation (Daily News).
  • An interview with Steven Englander of ABC No Rio (Art Fag City).
  • At the New Museum, artists and musicians discuss the downtown punk scene (Hyperallergic).
  • Judith Bernstein’s “masterpieces of feminist protest (NYT).
  • Ivan Orkin talks about his plans to open a ramen restaurant on Clinton Street (NYT).
  • Happy 5th birthday, EV Grieve! (EV Grieve).


Good Morning!

Chinatown & Little Italy

A December day in Chinatown. Photo by Roey Ahram.

A mixture of rain and wind today with a high of 52. Cloudy tomorrow with a high of 32.  Sunny and 40 on Sunday.

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Cyclist Struck on Grand Street at Clinton

A cyclist was struck by a taxi at the intersection of Grand and Clinton streets shortly after midnight Thursday night.

Just after midnight Thursday night, a taxi traveling westbound on Grand Street struck a cyclist at the intersection with Clinton Street. Police officers, firefighters and paramedics responding to the scene found a man sprawled out on his back in the road just outside the crosswalk, with his crunched bike on its side a few feet away and shopping bags and parcels scattered across the pavement.

The driver of the taxi stood by, with the taxi parked in the middle of the intersection, as rescue workers attended to the cyclist, who appeared to be alive but unconscious. He was loaded onto a backboard and put into a waiting ambulance as police officers interviewed witnesses and fire trucks blocked traffic.