Midtown’s Central Synagogue Nears Completion

8/01/2001, New York

The Central Synagogue at 55th and Lexington, has long been an important religious site and the center of Jewish cultural life in New York City. But in August 1998, a five-alarm fire, reportedly started by a construction worker’s torch, nearly destroyed this landmark building.

Graciano Corporation, experts in historic restoration, renovation and repair, played an important role in restoring this structure. Under the direction of architects Hardy, Holzman Pfieffer, restoration consultants DPKA, and general contractor F.J. Sciame Construction Co., Graciano patched stonework, pointed, and cleaned masonry and reset the ornamental parapet crenelations.

The synagogue, a rare and opulent example of Moorish Revival architecture, was designed by Henry Fernbach and built in 1870-72. Designated a New York City Landmark and a National Historic Landmark, it is the oldest building in the state to be in continuous use as a synagogue.

Graciano was also involved in Sciame’s restoration of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America at Broadway and 123rd Street in Harlem. Graciano’s work there involved exterior brick repair and masonry restoration, pointing, cleaning and stonework.

Founded in 1886, the seminary is the premier center for the academic study of Judaism in North America, and is the spiritual center for Conservative Judaism. The campus houses List College of Jewish Studies, the Graduate School, the Rabbinical School and the Cantors Institute/Seminary College of Jewish Music.

Graciano Corporation, founded in 1916, is one of the oldest family-owned masonry restoration companies in the country. Graciano is known and respected nationwide for its expertise in historic restoration. Some of the company’s other restoration projects have included the recently completed MetLife Building, as well as Rockefeller Center, Shea Stadium, and Grand Central Station. Last year the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC) awarded Graciano Corporation the 2000 BAC Craft Award for Best Restoration Project for its exceptional work in the restoration of New York City’s Queensboro Bridge and Bridgemarket, the vaulted area underneath, which has been restored to its original use as an open-air market.

Contact: Tom Corbo 412-963-8400, x290.

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