Sun and Tue-Thu, 10am-4pm; Mon and Fri-Sat, closed
B, D at Grand St.; F at East Broadway
Built in 1887 by the Lower East Side's first wave of Eastern European Jewish immigrants, the Eldridge Street Synagogue was a thriving community center from the early 1900s through the 1940s, when its founders and supporters began to move out of the neighborhood. Formed in 1986 to restore the neglected building, the Eldridge Street Project obtained historic landmark status for the building in 1996, and is in the process of transforming it into a working museum. Although the construction won't be completed until at least late 2007, the synagogue's newly restored façade, Moorish ornamentation, vaulted 70-foot ceilings, intricate stained glass windows, and 740-person capacity sanctuary, recall the building's former grandeur. (A smaller prayer space downstairs, complete with an original ark, still holds weekly services for an orthodox congregation.) However, the Project is committed to running exclusively non-sectarian events—concerts, readings, tours, architecture lectures and neighborhood parties—which re-envision the site as a meeting place for "bubbes and hipsters."Tours
Historical and Architectural Tours ($10 adult, $8 student/senior) run during normal hours; School Tours ($6 per child, $1 for NYC public school students) are by appointment only. Walking Tours for groups of 20 or more are led by Big Onion Walking Tours and are by appointment only; call 212-219-0888 x206.
Last year, Dan Kois published a story about John Brophy, the Portlander behind a new form of karaoke in which your friends pick a song and spring it on you while you're onstage. Well, Kois has taken his discovery one step further, creating a venue where New Yorkers can try it. More »