November 8, 2011
Honorable Robert Tierney, Chairman
New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10007
Re: Landmark Designation for the Bialystoker Home, 228 East Broadway, Manhattan
Dear Chairman Tierney:
The Lower East Side Preservation Initiative – LESPI – is writing to support designation of the Bialystoker Home at 228 East Broadway as a New York City Individual Landmark. This Art Deco style building dating from 1931 maintains a prominent visual presence on the streetscape and clearly meets the criteria for landmarking on architectural and cultural grounds.
The building’s monumental massing and characteristic Art Deco ornament, including the building’s name over the entry spelled out in letters in a Hebrew style, marks the institution’s importance to the surrounding Jewish community at the time of its construction: as the New York Times reported in 1931: “twenty-five years to the day after many of their number had fled from a pogrom in Bialystok, Russia, more than 5,000 Jews crowded East Broadway between Clinton and Montgomery Streets…and witnessed the opening and dedication….”
The Bialystoker Home is an important example of the historic institutional buildings peppered around the Lower East Side. During the decades around the turn of the 20th century, these facilities provided lifeblood for poor and struggling immigrant families. The relationship between the Lower East Side’s tenement residential buildings and more architecturally prominent institutional buildings is essential to our understanding of the immigrant experience at that time. The Bialystoker Home must be preserved as a critical component of the Lower East Side’s architectural and cultural history.
LESPI is an organization dedicated to preserving the architectural, historical and cultural heritage of Manhattan’s East Village / Lower East Side. With historic buildings falling prey to demolition and defacement on an almost daily basis, we believe that the LPC must act now to save the intact historic resources of these locally and nationally important neighborhoods for current and future generations.
We urge the LPC to vote to designate the Bialystoker Home as an Individual Landmark as soon as possible. Thank you.
cc: Hon. Margaret S. Chin, New York City Council email@example.com