Everyone in LES is still pretty stunned by the demolition of the Rivington Street temple that took place last week. We walked by over the weekend, and tons of people were still gathering on the sidewalk, staring into the ruined shell of a building that was once described as "Carnegie Hall for Cantors." Everyone had their cameras out-- snapping pictures of the remaining back wall, which still had the stained glass and undamaged bema. Yesterday the Times had a good article on the collapse of the Temple-- along with some bad news-- sounds like the lot is zoned up to 12 stories, and the temple might rebuild as part of a larger building:
Rabbi Spiegel repeated a commitment that he had made after the roof collapse, when he said the congregation would remain on Rivington Street. He said it would rebuild on the same site.
He declined, however, to discuss the size or shape of a new building, which could be far larger than the old synagogue and designed for more than a single use, according to city zoning rules. The 70-by-100-foot site would be suitable for a 12-story building without any zoning changes under the city's current rules.
But the city is expected to rule within a year on a proposal to reduce the scale of new development in the neighborhood, responding to widespread fears of overdevelopment.
We've heard lots of conspiracy theories that the congregation allowed the roof to deteriorate in order that it would collapse and give them an excuse to sell the building. Let's hope that's not true.
Related: we're still looking for an overhead shot of the ruined temple-- if you live in one of the buildings across the street, and can take a shot from a window or the roof, please send it in. Until then, we'll all have to make do with these links:
Times shot of the interior before collapse
Curbed shots of bulldozing in progress
Pix by Jordarnold on Flickr
Set by NemB on Flickr