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Their prayers have been answered.
Four Brooklyn houses of worship were nominated for listing on the State Register of Historic Places, a designation that could make the structures eligible for a bevy of grants and tax credits, the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced last week.
Three synagogues, including the Ocean Parkway Jewish Center, 550 Ocean Parkway; Shaari Zedek, 767 Putnam Avenue; and Kol Israel, 603 St. John’s Place were nominated, along with the Congregational Church of the Evangel, 1950 Bedford Avenue.
In total, Parks’ New York State Board for Historic Preservation recommended the addition of 32 properties to the registry, including nationally significant sites as the Chinatown-Little Italy Historic District and the Westbeth artists’ studio and residential complex in Manhattan, the 1964-65 World’s Fair New York State Pavilion in Flushing and the West Point Foundry archeological site in Cold Spring.
“These nominations highlight the diverse forces that have shaped New York’s history,” said Parks Commissioner Carol Ash. “Listing these landmarks will give these physical reminders of our past the recognition and support they deserve.”
Listing these properties on the State and National Registers can help their owners in refurbish the often aging structures, making them eligible for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching state grants and state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits.
Parks spokesperson Dan Keefe said the state is currently in the process of finalizing the nominations for placement on the state registry.
Originally founded by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, theOcean Parkway Jewish Center was built in 1924-1926 and designed by Brooklyn architects Samuel Malkind and Martyn Weinstein. “It dates from a period when Brooklyn had emerged as one of the world’s major Jewish population centers,” the draft National Register nomination form reads. Its founders were active in the real estate industry, while other members were in the garment industry.
Allen Michaels, chairman and director of the center, said he was thrilled about its nomination, and hopes to win grants to reawaken the building’s gradeur. He said the cost would otherwise be prohibitive. At its peak, he said, the center’s synagogue had 1,000 members strong. Today, there are little over 200 left, he said. Still he noted, the modern Orthodox institution reaches out to “anyone and everyone” in Kensington, the diverse neighborhood where it resides.
Built in 1909-1910, Shaari Zedek Synagogue in Bedford-Stuyvesant it is an early work by Eugene Schoen, considered an influential modernist Brooklyn-born architect. Since 1944, the building has been the home of St. Leonard’s Church.
Built in 1928, Kol Israel Synagogue in Crown Heights is considered an early 20th century tenement synagogue. It was designed by Brooklyn architect Tobias Goldstone.
The Congregational Church of the Evangel in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens was built in 1916-17 and designed by the architect Harold Granger. The Late Gothic Revival stone structure embodies many characteristics — scale, massing, materials — that are seen typical of an English medieval parish church, according to its draft nomination form.
Once the recommendations are approved by the state, the properties are listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places and then nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, where they are reviewed and, if approved, entered on the National Register.
The State and National Registers are the official lists of buildings, structures, districts, landscapes, objects and sites significant in the history, architecture, archeology and culture of New York State and the nation, according to Parks. The agency said there are 90,000 historic buildings, structures and sites throughout the state listed on the national registry, individually or as components of historic districts. Property owners, municipalities and organizations from communities throughout the state sponsored the nominations.
But being on the registry does not necessarily mean protection against private development, Keefe noted. Only if a site will be impacted by a state or federal project does the listing come into play, or if a private developer requires state or federal approval in order to proceed, he noted.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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