Manhattan Beach Jewish Center recognized for rich history

April 1, 2015 Anna Spivak
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The New York State Board for Historic Preservation has recommended Brooklyn’s own Manhattan Beach Jewish Center (MBJC) to be added to the State and National Registers of Historic Places along with 22 other properties throughout the state.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the additions to the State and National Registers on March 25. MBJC is the only location listed in Kings County and one of two from New York City to be nominated – the other being Williamsbridge Oval Park in the Bronx.

“New York has a rich heritage and has served as the location of significant events that are important to this nation’s history,” said Cuomo. “By placing these properties on state and national registers, we can ensure that these sites from New York’s past are preserved, maintained and enjoyed for future generations.”

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The synagogue was completed in 1952 and the accompanying community center followed 10 years later. According to Cuomo’s office, “the combined facilities for both synagogue and general community needs were a product of the ‘Jewish Center’ movement.”

Although the building houses a Yeshiva, a senior citizen center, a caterer, after-school academic and recreational programs, and a summer day camp, the multi-purpose center, located in the heart of a beach community, was in serious jeopardy in 2012, after devastating damage from Hurricane Sandy threatened its future.

“Shortly after Sandy I remember watching the state pump 350,000 gallons of oil and water out of the basement of the Manhattan Beach Jewish Center,” said Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz. “More than two years later, the MBJC is still recovering, but it’s a real survivor. I think the nomination reflects that fact.”

“What an exciting day for the Manhattan Beach community, which I proudly represent in the State Senate, to see one of their very own centers on track for prestigious recognition,” said Senator Marty Golden. “I commend the congregation and members of the Manhattan Beach Jewish Center for their continued service to our neighborhood, and I fully support efforts at the state and federal level to historically designate this site.”

Once the recommendations are approved by the state historic preservation office, the properties will be listed on the NY State Register of Historic Places. They are then nominated and sent to the National Register of Historic Places, where they will also be listed if approved.

Rose Harvey, commissioner of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said the “nominations reflect the diversity and distinctiveness of New York’s communities.”

“These landmarks are worthy of preservation,” added Harvey. “Listing them on the National Register is a way to offer them the support and recognition they deserve.”

The State and National Registers have just over 6,000 entries across New York State, including 176 in Brooklyn.

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