Jody Kriss of East River Partners is passionate about preserving historic buildings across New York City. His latest projects include renovations on some wonderful structures in the Big Apple, including the Adas Yisroel Anshe Mezritch Synagogue at 415 East 6th Street. Although the Jody Kriss Blog typically covers New York City real estate news, projects East River Partners is completing, as well as happenings around the city, this blog pays homage to some of the area’s most cherished historic buildings that are still in service. If you haven’t already visited these four destinations, they deserve a spot on your bucket list.
1. Fraunces Tavern
Situated at 54 Pearl Street in Manhattan, the Fraunces Tavern is the oldest restaurant in the city. The building, itself dates back to 1719, and was originally intended to be a private residence for a wealthy merchant by the name of Stephen Delancey. Samuel Fraunces, an innkeeper, purchased the home in 1762 and converted it into a tavern, which he named Queen’s Head. Sons of Liberty and George Washington are said to have been regulars back in the day. The place is rich with history, and not only serves meals befitting of the colonial era, but it also hosts a museum.
2. The Lyceum Theater
There are actually two theaters that were completed in 1903 and are still in operation, but the New Amsterdam Theatre came in slightly after the Lyceum Theatre. Producer David Frohman had an apartment built atop 149 W. 45th Street in Manhattan, which allowed him to watch his wife, actress Margaret Illington, on stage with ease. Judy Holiday was also catapulted to fame at the Lyceum while playing Billie Dawn in “Born Yesterday,” the theater’s longest-running show.
3. The New York Historical Society Museum
The New York Historical Society is the oldest museum in all of New York, founded in 1804. However its early days were difficult. The museum moved around a lot and even had to mortgage some of its books to make ends meet in the early 1800s. In 1902, construction on its eighth home at 170 Central Park West in Manhattan began and it opened on that site in 1908. Today, it hosts over 1.6 million pieces and has one of the greatest collections around.
4. Old Quaker Meeting House
The synagogue that Jody Kriss and East River Partners restored was built in 1910, and certainly qualifies for historic status, but it’s nowhere near the oldest place of worship in the region. That title belongs to the Old Quaker Meeting House at 137-16 Northern Boulevard in Flushing, Queens. It was opened in 1694 and has been in use for its intended purpose ever since, except for a brief period of time during the Revolutionary War when the British occupied the structure.
New York City is packed with amazing architecture that showcases just how far the entire country has come. Visiting these places is like stepping into a doorway to the past- an experience everyone should have at least once.