LES Preservationists: Tell the Landmarks Commission to Save Synagogue

Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, 60 Norfolk St.

We’ve been following the plight of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, the shuttered synagogue at 60 Norfolk St. The Landmarks Preservation Commission is weighing a proposal from the synagogue to demolish the building, which was protected in 1967.  Today a local preservation group, Friends of the Lower East Side, is weighing in. Here’s part of the email we received a short time ago:

In recent years, fire, water damage and, especially, a failure to maintain the building have all contributed to the building’s degradation. This seems to be a case of “demolition by neglect,” for which the synagogue should not be rewarded. Currently, efforts are being made for an impartial structural engineering report to assess the condition of the building… It is important for everyone to email the Landmarks Preservation Commission asking that they reject the request for demolition of this landmarked historic building. . Click here to contact LPC.

Rabbi Mandl Greenbaum has told us the only realsitic option at this point is to knock down the building and then construct a new condo complex with a synagogue on the ground floor. Sustained efforts to raise money to restore the synagogue or find a developer willing to restore the building failed, he said.


Danspace Premieres New Work by Yvonne Rainer

Photo: Assisted Living: Good Sports 2 (2011) by Mathieu Malouf.

Renowned dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker, Yvonne Rainera seminal member of the highly influential avant-garde Judson Dance Theater of the 1960s, and improvisational dance collective Grand Union of the 1970s, brings three works to Danspace Project this week.  Performances will include a reconstruction of a Judson-era work, We Shall Run, (1963) and the premiere of her latest work, Assisted Living: Do You Have Any Money?

Trained as a dancer in New York at the Martha Graham Dance School and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Rainer began to choreograph her own work in 1960. Much like other choreographers of her era, she sought to blur the line separating dancers from non-dancers. Her performances were based on a series of mundane tasks and day-to-day gestures like walking, running, lifting, etc. Her work, and time at Judson, began the birth of a movement that proved to be a vital force in modern dance in the following decades.

Shin Gallery Opens at 322 Grand Street

Shin Gallery, 322 Grand Street.

Miss a day, miss another Lower East Side gallery opening!  Shin Gallery is the latest addition to the still-flourishing neighborhood visual art scene.  Director Hong Gyu Shin says it’s the only gallery in New York City focused on contemporary Korean art.  Most of the artists represented are well-known internationally but have never had New York shows.

The first exhibition features 25 mixed-media works from South Korean artist Hong Seung-pyo, who was inspired by Chinese calligraphy.  You can see the paintings through February 22.  More information on the Shin Gallery’s web site.

The space, at the corner of Grand and Orchard streets, was previously occupied by pop-up gallery CollectiCo.


Morning Reads: 7-Eleven Undeterred, Synagogues & Real Estate, Half Gallery Heads Uptown

7-Eleven is convinced East Village residents will learn to love the international chain (NYT).

New York is 7-Eleven’s top priority (EV Grieve).

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney hosts a celebration tonight of women in politics (Post).

New book, “The Synagogues of the Lower East Side” looks at the tangled history of shuls and real estate (The Jewish Week).

Half Gallery leaves Forsyth Street for Midtown (Artinfo).

Velvet Underground co-founder John Cale visits his old Ludlow Street apartment (WSJ).


Good Morning!

Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Garden, Henry Street.

We pause today to remember Dr. Martin Luther King and to inaugurate a president.  It’s a federal holiday.  Click here if you need to know what offices are closed.  Mostly cloudy today with afternoon snow showers expected and a high of 32.

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