3. The Eldridge Street Synagogue took 10 Months to Build and 20 Years to Restore

Eldridge Street Synagogue-Museum at Eldridge Street-Tour-Lower East Side-Chinatown-NYC_11

The Eldridge Street Synagogue was built quickly, in just 10 months and opened on September 4th, 1887 in time for the Jewish High Holidays. The public fascination with the building was so immense, the police department had to be called in for riot control on opening day.

Starting in the 1920s, immigration quotas were imposed Eastern Europe and other regions, and suburban flight was beginning to take place. The Eldridge Street Synagogue, a first destination for immigrants, declined in membership without the influx of new members. At some point during the 20th century, the main sanctuary was closed.

The painstaking restoration, spurred on by the Eldridge Street Project, founded by preservationist Robert Brandes Gratz, took 20 years and $18.5 million. Only in December 2007 did the doors to the main sanctuary re-open to the public. The book Beyond the Facade documents the restoration of the synagogue.