A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from January 24, 2006
Cantors’ Carnegie Hall (First Roumanian-American Congregation)
The First Roumanian-American Congregation (Shaarey Shamoyim) at 89 Rivington Street has been called the "Cantors' Carnegie Hall" because of its many famous congregants (mostly in music).

The congregation had been dwindling for many years. In January 2006, the building suffered a roof collapse.

First Roumanian American Congregation
89 Rivington Street
This red brick former Methodist church was built in 1850. It is known as "the Cantor's Carnegie Hall" because opera stars Jan Peerce, Richard Tucker and others launched their careers here.

Administrator: Lower East Side Conservancy
Phone: (212) 598-1200
URL: http://www.nycjewishtours.org
Category: Houses
Subject: Religion
Time Period: 19th Century since Civil War

First Roumanian American Congregation
Neighborhood: Lower East Side
Denomination: Orthodox
Congregational Makeup:
Rabbi: Shmuel A. Spiegel

Established in 1860, the Roumanian congregation acquired this red brick, former Methodist Church in 1882 and converted it to a synagogue the same year. Its elaborate sanctuary is one of the largest in the city, seating over 1600. The synagogue was recognized internationally as a center for cantorial music; known as "the Cantor's Carnegie Hall."
Main Location: First Roumanian American Congregation
Street Address: 89 Rivington Street
Cross Streets: Orchard Street and Ludlow Street

First Roumanian-American Congregation, Shaarey Shamoyim (Gates of Heaven).

This 2,000-seat sanctuary was originally built around 1857 as the German Evangelical Church. Designed to convert Jews, it was bought in 1864 by Shaaray Hashomayim, New York's oldest Orthodox German-Jewish congregation. It reverted to a church in 1890, when a Methodist mission society moved the Allen Street Memorial Church here. Finally the current congregation bought it in 1902. Recognized as a center for cantorial music, the synagogue was known as "the Cantor's Carnegie Hall." It's been a synagogue ever since, though no longer primarily Romanian. Led by Rabbi Jacob Spiegel and offering daily services, the

9 June 1996, New York Times, "Rabbi Sees Hope for His Dwindling Congregation" by Andrew Jacobs, pg. CY6:
Cantors' Carnegie Hall
The First Roumanian-American Congregation had many illustrious choir members, cantors and congregants. Among them:

George Burns...congregant
Red Buttons...choir
Eddie Cantor...choir
Israel Cooper...cantor
Moishe Koussevitsky...cantor
Moishe Oysher...cantor
Jan Peerce...cantor
Richard Tucker...cantor

24 January 2006, New York Times, "Downtown Congregation Vows to Repair Roof or Build Anew" by Thomas J. Lueck:
A day after its roof collapsed into a sanctuary long renowned as the Cantors' Carnegie Hall, members of a Lower East Side synagogue vowed yesterday to repair their badly damaged, 150-year-old building, or else build anew in the same spot.

The First Roumanian-American Congregation, at 89-93 Rivington Street, remained off limits even to congregants yesterday as city inspectors warned of instability in one of its walls. Nine residents of an adjacent apartment building at 87 Rivington Street, including two children, were being temporarily housed in hotels because of the threat of further deterioration.

Posted by Barry Popik
Buildings/Housing/Parks • Tuesday, January 24, 2006 • Permalink

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