Best vanished vestige of the old Lower East Side (2008)

Roumanian-American Congregation Synagogue

Back in January, the roof caved in at the 150-year-old Roumanian-American Congregation Synagogue on Rivington Street, one of the last vestiges of Ye Olde Yiddische Lower East Side, conveniently located a block from the trendy Hotel on Rivington and across the street from hipster vegan teahouse Teany. Initial reports suggested that the dwindling congregation planned to repair the damage, but just a few weeks later, passersby stood on the street gawking and snapping photos of a synagogue stripped bare: The facade had been demolished (apparently at the behest of the city's department of buildings) and the remaining chandeliers, wall carvings, and shattered innards were exposed to the elements for many wintry weeks. It was a remarkable modern ruin. Now that the place is an empty lot, locals are taking bets on the future occupant of the site: boutique hotel, luxury housing, or another Whole Foods?


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