8. Bialystoker Synagogue (1826)

Bialystoker Synagogue (formerly Willett Street Episcopal Church) on 7 Bialystoker Place, built 1826.

Forty years before the Bialystoker Synagogue made its home at 7 Willett Street (now Bialystoker Place) in 1905, the building was home to the Willet Street Episcopal Church. Built in 1826, the Federal style church was made of Manhattan schist, which had been quarried on Pitt Street. There are only three other buildings in Lower Manhattan from the Federal period that are made out of fieldstone.

There is no written record confirming this but oral tradition maintains that the synagogue was a stop on the Underground Railroad. A hidden door in the corner of the women’s gallery leads to a ladder going up to an attic. It is believed that this concealed room was a place for runaway slaves to take refuge.