by Samuel D. Gruber
The New York Landmarks Preservation Commission has been taking a closer look at several individual Lower East Side buildings to determine if they meet standards for designation as
According the Lower East Side Tenement Museum blogger Kate Stober, properties under review include:
- The Hebrew Actors’ Union, at 31 East 7th Street between Second and Third avenues, constructed in the late 19th century (public hearing was held last June),
- The former Germania Fire Insurance Company building, at 357 Bowery, south of Cooper Square, a Second Empire style, 3 ½ story building completed in 1870,
- 97 Bowery building, near Hester Street, a five-story Italianate commercial structure with a cast-iron façade constructed c. 1869,
- Ridley & Sons Department Store, 319-321 Grand Street between Orchard and Allen streets, one of a pair of five-story, cast-iron buildings constructed c. 1886.,
- Jarmulowsky Bank,
For the Jewish history of the neighborhood, the Hebrew Actors' Union building and the Jarmulowsky Bank are the most significant. The Actors Union was a most center of Yiddish film and stage life in the early 20th century,
Jarmulowsky's Bank played a famous and infamous role in the financial lives and strife of Lower East Side immigrants. Together with the Forward Building, these two LES Jewish skyscrapers represented to diverse and sometimes contradictory aspirations of Jewish immigrants.
In July 2008 I wrote about the National Trust for Historic Preservation raising the alarm about destruction in the Lower East Side…all in the name of progress (read: lucrative real estate development).
I wrote at the time that: “Even today, however, there remains a substantial Jewish population in the area, and numerous synagogues. But the