Central Synagogue, NYC

Central Synagogue, New York, NY

1872 by Henry Fernbach

The Central Synagogue of New York City (Congregation Ahavath Chesed) was built in the Moorish Revival style as a copy of Budapest’s Dohány Street Synagogue. It has been in continuous use by a congregation longer than any other in the city.

The dramatic style of the building was the subject of much debate during the construction. Some felt its excess would inspire envy and stand in the way of assimilation.
It is among the oldest synagogue buildings still standing in the United States. It was designated a National Historic Landmark on May 15, 1975.

The building was restored by 2001 in the original style after an accidental fire in August 1998.The roof and its supports were destroyed as a result of the fire. During this fire, the firefighters’ sensitivity for the building saved all but the central pane in the rose window that dominates the eastern (Lexington Avenue) wall. The marble plaques on the north wall of the foyer honor the firefighters of the 8th Battalion of the New York City Fire Department.