Historic Former Synagogue Could Reopen Next Week Following Repairs

By Trevor Kapp on April 7, 2014 11:42am 

 The Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts has been shut down following a beam crack last month, but could reopen next week.
The Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts has been shut down following a beam crack last month, but could reopen next week.
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LOWER EAST SIDE — The historic Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts is hoping to reopen next week after being forced to evacuate when a pair of support beams cracked in the middle of a star-studded fundraiser.

Repairs to the 8-foot beam on the north side of the balcony at 172 Norfolk St., an historic former synagogue, will take place Monday and Tuesday and will likely cost about $3,000, owner and foundation director Al Orensanz said.

“Nothing [additional] has happened, but we have to observe the regulations,” he said. “Workers are coming today and tomorrow, and we’re expecting the OK from the Buildings Department later in the week.”

Reps from the DOB did not immediately respond to calls for comment.

The 165-year-old building was hosting a fundraiser to raise money for the SoHo Rep. theater company on the night of Mar. 31, when firefighters responding to reports of smoke inside the building found cracks in two support beams, one on the second floor and the other on the first floor, according to organizers and the FDNY.

The event was slated to feature Gretchen Mol, of “Boardwalk Empire,” actress Marisa Tomei and musician Steve Earle, according to advance publicity.

No one was injured, fire officials said.

The Department of Buildings issued a full vacate order and said Orensanz had to make repairs before it could re-open.

Orensanz said the fixes couldn’t come soon enough.

“We’re excited,” he said. “We have to get open again.”

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