Matt Green, in his quest to walk every block in New York City, discovered an item that belongs in our New York City that Never Was column. Congregation Ramath Orah, located on 110th Street just east of Broadway, is an Orthodox synagogue is located in the never finished home of West Side Unitarian Church. Ramath Orah (Hebrew for the heights of light) was founded in 1941 by a group of Jews from Luxembourg fleeing the Nazis.
West Side Unitarian Church broke ground on their home on October 28, 1921. The church was designed by Hoppin & Koen and was supposed to cost $400,000. As a result of financial difficulties, coupled with the Great Depression, the Church scaled back their plans, and the building was left in its unfinished state. Not only did the Church’s financial difficulties force it to halt construction, it also caused the church to combine with another congregation. As a result, the West Side Unitarian Church left its new home in October 1931, exactly 10 years after ground had been broken.
Today, the existing building contains the right part of the symmetrical facade. The inscription, which was intended to be in the middle of the building, is now on the left. The church cupola on top was never built.
See more from our NYC That Never Was series.