5. Most decorative details in the Eldridge Street Synagogue are faux

Eldridge Street Synagogue-Museum at Eldridge Street-Tour-Lower East Side-Chinatown-NYC_17

From a distance, the walls and columns of the Eldridge Street Synagogue appear to be made of fine marble. Upon closer examination, it becomes clear that the columns are simply painted to look like that. Fluted columns on the ark in the downstairs sanctuary are the same. In the front of the upstairs sanctuary, tromp l’oeils (meaning trick of the eye) on either side of the ark show a traditional curtain over the ark doors, painted to look real.

These techniques mitigated costs compared to using the imitated materials, but they were still far more expensive than a simple coat of paint as all the details were applied by hand. Even for the restoration, everything was painted by hand, despite the advent of computer technology.