Tuesday, October 28, 2014

[Updated] Tifereth Israel Town & Village Synagogue faces landmark designation today

[EVG file photo]

The Tifereth Israel Town & Village Synagogue at 334 E. 14th St. is scheduled for a vote before The Landmarks Preservation Commission on proposed landmark designation today at 9:45 a.m.

Here's background via a press advisory sent out yesterday by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP)...

The synagogue was first built in 1866 as the First German Baptist Church; in 1926 it became the Ukrainian Autocephalic Church of St. Volodymyr; and in 1962 it became the Town & Village Synagogue, reflecting the successive waves of immigration and ethnic change that have swept over the East Village.

Shortly after New York's landmarks law was adopted in 1965, Tifereth Israel was formally heard and considered for landmark designation, but never received a vote. However, it did remain officially "calendared" by the LPC, or formally under consideration for landmark designation, making it perhaps the longest time any building in New York has remained in "landmarks limbo."

At today's meeting (which the public can attend but at which it cannot speak), the LPC could vote to landmark the historic structure, vote not to landmark, vote to landmark part of the structure (a rear section of the synagogue was built somewhat later, which some have proposed excluding from landmark designation), or could defer again on voting.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission held a public hearing about the designation this past March 25.

During that hearing, synagogue members downplayed the importance of the building's architecture, as The East Villager reported.

"Synagogue members stressed that landmarking would raise costs just as a plan is underway to modify the structure to better serve community needs through a daycare center, disabled access and L.G.B.T.Q. services," according to The East Villager.

Updated 1:53 p.m.

The LPC voted to landmark the synagouge, with landmark designation taking immediate effect.

At today's vote, the Commission excluded from the landmark designation a rear structure which had originally been considered as part of the landmark designation. GVSHP and fellow preservation and East Village groups had called for landmark designation of the entire building, including the rear structure.

Previously on EV Grieve:
[Updated] East 14th St. synagogue on the market for conversion to residential, commercial use

48 years later, East 14th Street synagogue to be considered for landmark designation


Anonymous said...

Partial landmark designation seems disastrous, looking to the former RKO Keiths theater in Flushing as an example.

Anonymous said...

It's no longer a viable space for the congregation and all the community programs they do. It looks nice from the outside, but what will landmark status do for it's actual usage? (and I say that as someone who hates to see historic buildings get torn down).

Gojira said...

It got landmarked:


Unknown said...

Town & Village Synagogue is a community and a building.
We are an active, egalitarian Conservative Jewish congregation serving Lower Manhattan with pride. We recognize the LPC’s designation of our building and honor the work that has been done by both the Bloomberg and the DiBlasio administrations to carefully review and deliberate on our status. Their decision is a testament to our building’s rich immigrant history in NYC.

Our commitment remains; to serve the 400 families who are the core of T&V and to support the greater community of which we are a part. We look to the men and women who championed Landmark designation to continue their loving support of Town & Village Synagogue. May we work together to strengthen this building so that it will be a beacon of spiritual strength, a center of Jewish learning and a jewel on 14th Street for generations of New Yorkers yet to be born.

Marianna Mott Newirth
President, T&V Synagogue

Anonymous said...

It seems to me to be unAmerican for an outside group to take control of a community institution against the will of that community. Would those who supported landmarking want to kick out the congregation and turn the building into some sort of museum in remembrance of some remote past. How sad that the landmarking constraints are being forced upon this living thriving community.

East Village Today said...

Every building that's been landmarked has been done so as an effort to atone for the destruction of the old Penn Station, but nothing will bring it back. I do not want to live in a museum!

Anonymous said...

Hooray for landmarking! The architectural heritage of New York City belongs to us all. That's why the Landmarks Preservation Commission exists, and it attempts to balance the rights of property owners and the public. Private property owners get plenty of consideration from the LPC, and in our society in general. The times here and there when important things are preserved are essential to our memory, culture and identity.

Meanwhile, this city is in the midst of an unprecedented building boom, and constant churn of every kind -- it obviously is not becoming a museum.

Many owners of landmarked properties are delighted with the value that comes with that designation. I believe the congregation leadership will come around; there is already a diversity of opinion in the membership.