Heights congregation receives 'sacred sites’ grant

Congregation B’nai Avraham on Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights. Photo courtesy of New York Landmarks Conservancy

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

The New York Landmarks Conservancy has given a $10,000 Sacred Sites grant for facade restoration to Congregation B’nai Avraham in Brooklyn Heights, part of a total of $275,000 awarded to historic religious properties throughout the state.

“It’s vital to renew and repair religious buildings,” said Peg Breen, president of The New York Landmarks Conservancy.  “Not only do these sites convey their communities’ history, they serve their neighborhoods today with food pantries, nursery schools, concerts and a variety of worthy programs.”

Congregation B’nai Avraham, at 117 Remsen St., is located in an Italianate townhouse, part of a block of handsome rowhouse residences and institutional buildings that were constructed in the 1850s.

The building has a long history as a synagogue, serving as the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue from 1960 to 1996, when Congregation B’nai Avraham purchased the building.  It was previously the headquarters of the Brooklyn Engineers’ Club.  

The synagogue building features both Italianate and Gothic Revival decorative elements, such as a bracketed wooden cornice, handsome rope-motif wood molding at window surrounds, arched windows and an Italianate entrance.  The townhouse was built by shipping magnate Henry Nesmith, whose family lived there from 1856 through the 1880s.

B’nai Avraham is Brooklyn Heights’ only Orthodox synagogue. It hosts a large, year-round preschool, the Brooklyn Heights Senior Group and a community mikvah, or ritual bath.  The on-site nursery school also runs a nearby day care center.

The building is within the Brooklyn Heights Historic District, New York City’s first historic district, which was designated in the mid-1960s.
Since its founding, the New York Landmarks Conservancy has given more than $40 million in grants and loans. The amount leveraged more than $1 billion in 1,550 restoration projects throughout New York, revitalizing communities, providing economic stimulus and supporting local jobs.  The conservancy has also offered countless hours of pro bono technical advice to building owners.  Its work has saved more than a thousand buildings across the city and state.

August 22, 2013 - 3:00pm


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