Volume 75, Number 44 | March 22 -28 2006

Villager photos by Jefferson Siegel

Finally, finials are restored

On Sunday, the Eldridge St. Synagogue celebrated the completion of a major restoration of its facade with the installation of the last of a set of finials 100 feet above the street. Eldridge St. was closed as several hundred people filled the street for the ceremony. There were brief speeches by Councilmember Alan Gerson, Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senator Martin Connor and others.

Twenty years ago, the Eldridge Street Project was formed to protect and restore the crumbling but still-spectacular Eldridge Street Synagogue, the first synagogue built by East European immigrants in New York City. On Sunday, the project’s leaders, joined by dignitaries from the worlds of government, business and the arts and descendants of the synagogue’s original congregants, joined to celebrate the completion of the renovation of the 1887 building’s facade. Festivities included music, food and tours of the landmark.

Amy Milford of the Eldridge Street Project said the finials that were put up are new and were based on the synagogue’s original finials, which were always a problem, in that they were top heavy because of the materials from which they were constructed. In 1960, the Department of Buildings declared the original finials were unsafe and had to come down.

“That is the original silhouette of the building from 1887, though those are not the original finials — which would be unsafe,” said Milford.

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