2. 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 in just 10 months and opened on September 4th, 1887 — just 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. However, as suburban flight occurred and immigration quotas were imposed on immigrants from Eastern Europe, the synagogue declined in membership. Without the influx of new members, at some point during the 20th century, the main sanctuary closed.

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