Synagogue for the Arts
49 White Street
New York, NY 10013
The unabashedly modernist Civic Center Synagogue was designed by William N. Breger and completed in 1967. While the building is completely out of context among the 19th-century buildings surrounding it, there is a certain optimism to its mid-20th-century exhuberance that makes it seem somehow fitting.
The Civic Center Synagogue was founded by Jacob J. Rosenblum in 1938 in a loft above a store to serve the area's lawyers, civil servants and textile workers for weekday services. The Synagogue constructed its own building at 80 Duane Street in 1957, but that site was seized by eminent domain only three years later to make way for the Jacob Javits Federal Office Building. However, in compensation for the lost land, the Synaguge was given this plot for a new building in TriBeCa.
The fortunes of the Synagogue faded with those of the surrounding city in the 1970s and 1980s, but the rebirth of the city in the 1990s led to a rebirth of the congregation. The name was changed to "Synagogue for the Arts" to reflect the cultural changes in the neighborhood.