Followup: Norfolk Street Synagogue’s Last Stand?

Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, 60 Norfolk Street.

Shortly before the December holidays we broke the news that the leadership of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, a New York City landmark since 1967, was seeking permission to demolish its 163-year old building on the Lower East Side.  The synagogue at 60 Norfolk Street has been closed for five years, the victim of a violent summer storm, fire and neglect.  Since our initial story, we have spoken with many people who have been involved over the years in efforts to save the building, including the rabbi now advancing a plan to replace the synagogue with a new, modern residential tower and religious center.

We first interviewed Rabbi Mandl Greenbaum last summer, as he was making a final plea to developers to refurbish the building, creating residences or an events center, with room for the synagogue in a portion of the facility.  In a more recent conversation, he explained that these efforts had failed and the synagogue was pursuing what he believes is the only realistic option.   On December 21, lawyers representing the congregation, filed a “hardship application” with the Landmarks Preservation Commission, a required step anytime the owner of a protected building plans demolition.  In place of the 1850 Gothic Revival structure, Greenbaum envisions a 45,000 square foot condo building with room for a small shul and a museum on the ground floor.

Chin, Squadron Raise Money For 2013 Campaigns

Margaret Chin attended a City Hall rally in December.

Candidates for citywide offices were required to file campaign finance disclosure statements this week.  There’s more evidence District 1 City Council member Margaret Chin is gearing up for her re-election bid.

The latest report shows her campaign has collected $97,190 so far from 711 donors. The average contribution was $136.  The biggest check was $2000 from Phillip Lam of Green City Realty.  One other potential candidate, Jenifer Rajkumar, has filed to run in District 1, but she hadn’t previously reported campaign contributions.  Rajkumar is a district leader and Battery Park City resident. District 1 includes most of Lower Manhattan, including the Lower East Side.

Morning Reads: Gun Legislation Passes Senate, Amorous Tagger in Court, American Realness Festival

Late last night the state Senate approved new gun control legislation; the Assembly votes today (NYT).

Candidates for New York City mayor back mayoral control of the public schools (Post).

Photos: Williamsburg Bridge car crash (Aninal).

Lower East Side tagger Russell Murphy, the guy photographed smooching his girlfriend, pleads guilty to misdemeanor charges (Daily News).

The American Realness dance festival at the Abrons Arts Center is “full of second chances.” (NYT)


Good Morning!

TTW - E. Houston Near Essex St.

East Houston Street near Essex. Photo by Joel Raskin.

We’re looking for cloudy skies today and a high of 42.  Early this evening, the dreaded “wintry mix” will hit the city, continuing into tomorrow.

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