From the EVG inbox this past weekend…
The Friends of the Lower East Side (FOTLES) and the East Village Community Coalition (EVCC) have launched a drive to advocate for the NYC landmark designation of the former H. Nieberg Funeral Home, a rare intact survivor of the many funeral homes that once served the Jewish community of the Lower East
A Request for Evaluation for the historic building at 139-141 Ludlow Street was recently submitted to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission in collaboration with Friends of Terra Cotta and Kerri Culhane, architectural historian.
Many funeral homes, like H. Nieberg, evolved from livery stables, providing all the necessary arrangements, from removal of the body to burial, and were viewed as important religious structures in the community. The structure spans 143 years and reflects the growth and development of the neighborhood through its changing usage: from a hay and feed store and single dwelling to apartments and a stable, from an automobile garage and Jewish funeral home to a printing plant and high-tech company and, currently, planned for a private members’ club connected to an international network.
In 1925, Harry Nieberg handled the highly publicized funeral and burial of noted gangster Morris Grossman, attracting a crowd of more than 5,000 spectators. Described in 1937 in the New York Evening Post as “the huge and jovial Ludlow Street undertaker,” Harry Nieberg became a well-known figure in New York City during his ownership of the building. He was admired locally for his generosity.
In 1928, The New York Times reported on Nieberg’s efforts to raise funds to bury an impoverished Roman Catholic neighbor. This act of kindness was characteristic of Nieberg who offered twenty-five free funerals a year to impoverished New Yorkers.
Politically, Nieberg was celebrated for challenging the corruption of Tammany Hall, although his Congressional campaigns in 1935 and 1937 – against Christopher D. Sullivan, brother of Tammany boss “Big Tim” Sullivan – were not successful.
You can find the petition here.
After a long battle, the Soho House won approval for a liquor license here last October. Reps for Soho House had reportedly agreed to work with preservationists to protect the building's facade.
BoweryBoogie got a look inside the building last year.