A Decade of Preserving Historic Houses of Worship
With next Tuesday’s hearing on the possible landmark designation of the Tifereth Israel Town & Village Synagogue on East 14th Street — the nearly 150 year old former German Baptist and Ukrainian Orthodox Church which has been under consideration for landmark designation for almost fifty years — we thought we’d take a look at some of the other historic houses of worship GVSHP has been able to help get landmarked over the last ten years.
The buildings range from grand to modest, are located everywhere from the Far West Village to Alphabet City, and housed congregations with Irish, Polish, Italian, German, Russian, Polish, Bohemian, and Jewish roots, among others.
These ecclesiastical structures are more extensively catalogued in GVSHP’s report “Ten Years: A Thousand Buildings Landmarked: One Hundred Blocks Rezoned,” which chronicles GVSHP’s achievements over the last ten years.
But here’s a sample:
St. Veronica’s Roman Catholic Church, located at 155 Christopher Street, was built in 1889 by architect John Deery, and initially served a largely Irish, longshoreman congregation. It was landmarked in 2006 as part of the Far West Village Extension of the Greenwich Village Historic District which GVSHP fought to secure. Its red towers draw off of medieval Central European models.
The former Beth Hamerdash Hagadol Ansche Ungarn Synagogue, at 242 east 7th Street, between Avenues C and D, was built in 1908 by architects Gross & Kleinberger. This was one of several “tenement synagogues” located on the Lower East Side — so named because it was shoehorned into a narrow tenement-sized lot, and served residents of nearby tenements. The synagogue ceased operating in the 1970’s and the building lay empty for years before being converted to residences. It was designated an individual landmark in 2008 — a designation GVSHP strongly supported. The elegant neo-classical facade belies the humble origins of this modest congregation.
Our Lady of Pompei Church at Bleecker and Carmine Streets was built in 1926 by architect Matthew Del Gaudio. It was landmarked in 2010 as part of the South Village Extension of the Greenwich Village Historic District proposed by GVSHP. Founded by and for Italian immigrants, the church’s architecture is based directly upon Italian Renaissance models, and dominates nearby Father Demo Square, named for one of Pompei’s beloved priest, who ministered to the victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.
Hopefully Tifereth Israel will be joining these illustrious ranks soon. You can view the whole section of the report on houses of worship we have been able to help get landmarked over the last ten years here, and view the whole report on ten years of landmarking and zoning progress here.