Here are the first heartbreaking photos this morning from 60 Norfolk St., the former Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Synagogue, which was ravaged by fire last night.
As you can see the facade and the entire interior from the 167-year-old city landmark are gone. This morning, fire investigators continue to search for clues revealing how the building caught on fire shortly before 7 p.m.
As we reported late last night, kids have been going in and out of the building in recent weeks. There was a small fire in the synagogue a week ago. Rabbi Mendl Greenbaum told us authorities are looking at security camera tapes to determine whether the kids may have been on the scene last night. Greenbaum also told us he was scheduled to meet with representatives of the Landmarks Preservation Commission this week about a possible plan to restore the synagogue, which has been empty since 2007. He had been working with the Chinese American Planning Council, which has been seeking to develop a parcel it owns behind the synagogue.
Today news crews are set up at the corner of Grand Street and Norfolk. Broome Street and Norfolk Street are closed to auto and pedestrian traffic.
We’ll have more throughout the day. The Department of Buildings and Landmarks Commission are expected to make initial assessments of the building today. although it’s apparent this morning that there’s little left to salvage. Beth Hamedrash Hagadol has been a New York City landmark since 1967.