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Two Important Federal Buildings Need Your Help

On the Lower East Side there are two almost 200-year-old Federal-style houses that need your help now. 22 EastBroadway and 206 Bowery had been deemed by the Landmarks Preservation Commission to be significant enough to be classified as “calendared”, which means placed in a protected category pending landmark designation. Unfortunately, the Commission never acted to designate and due to a law passed by the City Council, these rare survivors will lose their protected status unless the Commission acts to designate. Please click on the link now to send a letter to the Chair of the Commission expressing your support for landmark designation.


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22 East Broadway

22 East Broadway

206 Bowery

206 Bowery

22 East Broadway (1832)is a rare surviving grand Federal house, known as the James R. Whiting House. Mr. Whiting was a district attorney, a City Council member, and a New York Supreme Court Judge.

206 Bowery (1810) is another rare survivor–a Federal style row house whose design is characteristic of the Federal style with its Flemish-bond brick work and its high peaked roof with dormers.



Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Destroyed by Fire

On the evening of May 14, 2017 a devastating fire destroyed Beth Hamedrash Hagadol. Some of you know that Friends of the Lower East Side, as part of a larger coalition, has fought to save this building over the years.

The spectacular fire at Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Synagogue is a devastating loss to the Jewish heritage of the Lower East Side. Erected as the Norfolk Street Baptist Church in 1850, the building was acquired and remodeled as a synagogue in 1888. Founded in 1852, it was the nation’s oldest Orthodox Jewish Russian congregation, and stood as a tangible reminder of the hundreds of thousands of Jewish immigrants – fleeing pogroms and economic deprivation – who found justice and opportunity in America on the streets of the Lower East Side. Whatever the cause of the fire turns out to be, the deliberate neglect to stabilize and secure this landmark directly contributed to its demise.

A demolition order has been issued by the Department of Buildings. Community Board 3 on 6/27/2017 voted to approve the demolition with the hope that parts of the building might be saved.

On 7/11/2017 the Landmarks Preservation Commission determined that portions of the building (particularly on the west, north and south facades) are structurally unsound and unsafe and must be removed. The commission stated that the demolition work must be conducted carefully in order to save as much of the building as possible. The sole purpose of the demolition is to stabilize the facades. The LPC is instructing the building owners to salvage significant architectural features and finished materials. Finally, the commission’s engineering firm will be monitoring the demolition work.

As of 12/1/2017, the remains of the building are still standing. Careful demolition work is to begin soon under the supervision of the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

You can get news updates at The Lo-Down.

You can also read our “In the News” page.


Proposed Lower East Side Historic District

The Lower East Side (LES) of Manhattan, long recognized as the iconic neighborhood to which millions of Americans can trace their roots, has embodied the hopes and struggles of generations of newcomers to the United States from many countries around the world. Its streetscapes continue to vividly embody this historical sense of place with their ornate Italianate, neo-Grec, Romanesque Revival and Beaux-Arts tenements and historic commercial, institutional and religious buildings. The proposed historic district, encompassing an area from Delancey to Canal Streets, between Essex and Forsyth Streets, evidences a once and still thriving ethnically diverse immigrant neighborhood, one that also has been celebrated as the heart of the American Jewish experience.

Its low-scale tenement buildings reveal the changing character of urban housing for lower income New Yorkers during the mid- nineteenth to early-twentieth centuries. Like no other neighborhood in the city, its intact streetscapes offer a brick-and-mortar lesson in both the historical plight of the immigrant poor and society’s response to those horrid conditions. The district still contains fine examples of pre-law, old-law, new-law and other innovative housing reforms. While the facades of even vernacular buildings showcase a wonderful array of crafted terra-cotta, stone, and cast-iron ornamentation, there are, in addition, many important examples of the work of such eminent architects as Ernest Flagg, J.C. Cady, Henry J. Hardenberg, C.B.J. Snyder, Napoleon Le Brun & Son, and Herter Brothers.

The rapidly changing character of this historic working class immigrant neighborhood has accelerated in recent years. Signaling this transformation, in 2008 the National Trust for Historic Preservation included the LES, already listed as a National and State Register District, on its list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Although several excellent institutional structures on the LES are protected by individual landmark designations, it is only in context with their neighboring tenement buildings that the district tells the full story of immigrant life on the LES. New York City historic district designation will preserve not only the LES’s historic architecture and streetscapes but its special sense of place as well. Additionally, we believe landmark district designation will help retain the hundreds of existing affordable housing units for long-term residents and the large number of small businesses that have long characterized the area.