Following its determination of eligibility for the State and National Register of Historic Places, I urge the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission to consider the designation of Adas Yisroel Anshe Mezritch Synagogue, located at 415 East Sixth Street in Manhattan, as a New York City Landmark as soon as possible.
The Congregation Mezritch Synagogue is significant as the East Village and Lower East Side’s last operating neoclassical “tenement synagogue.” In the late-19th and early-20th Centuries, the areas now known as the East Village and Lower East Side were literally filled with synagogues of this kind. Sadly, hardly any survive today to remind us of what was perhaps the most significant Jewish community in American history. The fact that the Congregation Mezritch Synagogue has not only survived completely intact, but has also operated as a synagogue continuously since its formation, is both rare and remarkable.
The style and history of Congregation Mezritch Synagogue strongly resemble that of the recently-landmarked Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Anshe Ungarn Synagogue at 242 East 7th Street, a building which the LPC deemed an increasingly-rare surviving symbol of the Jewish immigrant experience in the East Village and Lower East Side. Like Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, Congregation Mezritch Synagogue was built as a dwelling and later converted to a synagogue. The sophisticated, ornate facades of both these synagogues reflect the character of congregations of simple means, but with high aspirations.
This synagogue building exists as an intact historic gem situated amidst a rapidly changing landscape. It would be tragic to lose such a rare remnant of an enormously important time period. I hope you will expeditiously consider this vital and important piece of American history for landmark designation.