On August 8, 2008, Village Preservation and the East Village Community Coalition (EVCC) submitted a request to the LPC to landmark a little-known but remarkable survivor– Congregation Mezritch Synagogue at 515 East 6th Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue A. The building was the last operating “tenement synagogue” in the East Village. A young, little-known developer named Jared Kushner was planning to tear it down and replace it with condos and a new space for the tiny congregation, which had operated out of the building since 1910.
The story has a (relatively) happy ending – the synagogue and much of its surroundings were landmarked in 2012, and the demolition plan was dropped. But unlike the deservedly beloved and celebrated Eldridge Street Synagogue, now a National Historic Landmark, Mezritch is one of several unique but in many cases overlooked historic synagogues still standing in and around Greenwich Village, the East Village, and the Lower East Side, which in the early 20th century contained what was by many accounts the largest Jewish community in the world. Ahead, we take a look at the history of seven of them and what makes them so unique.
Learn about the history
Our series “My sqft” checks out the homes of New Yorkers across all the boroughs. Our latest interior adventure brings us to the Greenwich Village apartment of Museum Hack founder Nick Gray. Want to see your home featured here? Get in touch!
A few years ago, a date brought Nick Gray to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and showed him all of the pieces she really loved. Something clicked. “The passion was contagious,” Nick said. “I went back to the museum dozens of times, iPad in hand, doing a deep dive into the pieces I found most interesting.” As this became a serious hobby, Nick, who has no background in art or history, began inviting friends to join him at the Met to teach them fun facts about lesser-known works of art and artifacts. What started as a new obsession with museums, grew into Museum Hack, a million-dollar company that leads “renegade” small-group tours of museums in New York City and four other cities.
Nick’s enthusiasm follows him into his Greenwich Village apartment, where its minimalist design comes packed with memories. On a recent tour of his apartment–which boasts super tall ceilings, a skylight, and a wood-burning fireplace–he eagerly showed us a wall covered with polaroids of friends, his blue velvet couch inspired by a piece of furniture at the Met, and a large photo of “the craziest party” he’s ever thrown. Ahead, tour Nick’s bright pad, take his advice for museum newbies and learn about what he has planned next (it involves guacamole).
Meet Nick and see inside his apartment
It’s tough to find family-sized apartments in downtown Manhattan neighborhoods, but this split two-bedroom co-op in the classic Bakery Building at 42 West 13th Street in Greenwich Village, asking $2.25 million, has room to create a third bedroom. Other people-friendly pluses include a recent renovation, a sunny terrace that spans the length of the apartment, plenty of room for living and dining, zoned central air conditioning, and 10.5-foot ceilings.
Take a look inside
After 25 years as the home of The Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation, this 3,200 square-foot duplex condo asking $3.75 million is still a classic Village live/work loft. The late, famed photographer Phillip Leonian is known for his iconic portrait of Muhammad Ali in a crown and red velvet robe; the foundation has funded photographic education and documentary photography across the United States. The American Felt Building at 114 East 13th Street was once home to the suppliers of the hammer and bushing felt for the Steinway piano company; it was among the area’s first to be re-purposed for loft living, loved for the high ceilings and massive windows that made former industrial spaces so popular.
See more, this way
An illustration of the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, via Wiki Commons
On July 11, 1804, Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton crossed paths for the last time. That was the date of their infamous duel on the cliffs of Weehawken, New Jersey when Burr exacted his long-desired revenge upon Hamilton with a gunshot to the abdomen. But this was not the first time the two men’s lives and careers came in contact. One such place of frequent intersection for the bitter rivals was Greenwich Village – where Burr lived and Hamilton ultimately died. And it’s in Greenwich Village, and the nearby East Village and Soho, where many reminders of these two titanic figures of early American politics can still be found today. Ahead, learn about five sites where Burr and Hamilton made history.
Get all the history
While upgrading water mains under Washington Square Park in 2015, city workers unearthed two 19th-century burial vaults containing the skeletal remains of at least a dozen people. As part of Landmarks Preservation Commission protocol, intact burials were left untouched, but the city had removed several hundred bone fragments. Four years later, plans to rebury the remains under the park are moving forward as the Parks and Recreation Department presents its idea to place the fragments in a “coffin-sized” box, according to the Villager.
More this way
Via NPCA on Flickr
Millions will converge in New York City this weekend to celebrate events which took place in and outside of a Greenwich Village bar 50 years ago. The Stonewall Riots will not only be memorialized here in New York City, but those events have come to take on international significance. There are celebrations and marches in countries across the globe, with the name ‘Stonewall’ also used by countless organizations and entities around the world to signify the quest for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality.
But 50 years ago those three nights of protests were barely noticed beyond the boundaries of the local neighborhood and a small but energized group of activists and rabble-rousers. They garnered little media attention, and most of the attention received was pretty negative – including from the gay community. So how did the events at the Stonewall 50 years ago go from an obscure set of disturbances at the tail end of the decade marked by strife and disorder, to an internationally-recognized symbol of a civil rights movement? Ahead, learn about Stonewall’s long road to becoming a civil rights landmark.
This unique triplex penthouse at 1 7th Avenue South brings modern technology and designer finishes to a fabulous point at the nexus of Greenwich Village, SoHo and the West Village. Currently on the rental market for $14,500 per month, this Village home has a unique wedge shape for light and views on all sides, and wraparound terraces galore for indoor-outdoor living.
Take a triangular tour
Listing photos courtesy of Prime Manhattan Residential
The six-level, eight-bedroom townhouse at 109 Waverly Place, asking $23.5 million, already occupies the ultra-luxury zone with its 25-foot width, high-speed elevator and architect-led modern renovation. But an indoor lap pool and a rooftop Jacuzzi put the single family home spanning more than 8,300 square feet in a class by itself. Add to that exclusive combination 1,500 square feet of outdoor space and a cover spot on Interior Design magazine, and you might wonder why the historic Village address has been on the market since 2017, when it was listed for $28 million.
Take the tour
Wittenberg Triangle, the proposed location for the monument honoring Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. Image via Google Earth.
Days before the start of Pride Month, the city announced on Thursday that the next She Built NYC monument will honor two transgender activists, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, key leaders in the Stonewall Uprising that sparked the gay and LGBTQ rights movement in America. The monument is currently planned for Ruth Wittenberg Triangle in the heart of the Village and near other important LGBTQ neighborhood landmarks including the Stonewall Inn. The city is seeking artists interested in creating the public monuments honoring Johnson and Rivera in an open call.
Statues will honor women who changed NYC