One of the more surprising sites along Lexington Avenue in New York City is Central Synagogue; it’s Moorish towers topped with sparkling domes seem so out of place in the hustle and bustle of midtown. And yet, the synagogue is one of the oldest buildings on the block, not to mention one of the oldest synagogues in the United States.
Built in 1872 by Henry Fernbach, New York’s first prominent Jewish architect, in the Moorish Revival style, the synagogue is a reinterpretation of Budapest’s famed Dohány Street Synagogue. It’s Spanish style is a homage to the Jews who once lived in Moorish Spain. The began as many houses of worship in New York did, in the late 1800, on the Lower East Side, but eventually as the city expanded north and the congregation grew too late for its home, a new building was sought on the much more expansive Upper East Side.
In addition to the arresting building on the corner of Lexington and 55th St, the synagogue also owns the Salem Fields Cemetery, Brooklyn where many of the Guggenheims, Foxes (of 20th Century Fox) and Shuberts (of Shurbert Theaters) are buried.
646-652 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10022
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