12. Remnants of abandonment still remain in the sanctuary

exposed beams showing through wall plaster

The main tenet of the restoration plans of the Eldridge Street Synagogue was to make sure the space still felt used and that history could be revealed in the architecture. As the Museum at Eldridge Street writes, “We did not want the synagogue to look like a newborn baby but rather a well-maintained and absolutely loved 120-plus-year-old building.”

Part of that history is certainly its decades of abandonment, and if you look along the left balcony of the upstairs sanctuary, you will see a wall deliberately left bare. This bareness was the state many portions of the walls were in, and the museum left a panel this way to showcase how the building was constructed — with brick, lath, plaster, and paint. You can also see pieces of horsehair, that were used to bind the plaster during the restoration.