Kent Synagogue Gets an Exterior Finish – Finally!

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And so it ends. After sitting for a year without a proper exterior, the honchos at the Kent Avenue Synagogue have finally put an outer coat on the three-story house of worship. Finally.
Kent Synagogue Starts to Clean Up Its Act [Brownstoner] GMAP
Kent Avenue Synagogue: What a Shame [Brownstoner]
Sin-A-Gog Outrage: This Is Getting Ridiculous [Brownstoner]
Synagogue Needs Some Skin, Baby! [Brownstoner]

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  • Yuck. Warehouses solely intended to pack in as many dues-paying members as possible, built cheap cheap cheap.

  • Hey, it looks better than it used to. But shouldn’t there be bars on the windows?

  • i ride by this thing everyday. It’s just nasty any which way you look at it. period.

  • It’s not going to win any design awards, that’s for sure, but at least it’s a little less of a f#$%-you to the neighborhood now.

  • Isn’t this for the worship of G-d? So much bigger than aesthetics. I guess when it comes down to it, you can either spend money to help people or to build a beautiful building. I guess it is possible that they just don’t have the money to build something fancy. Building a community is a beautiful thing.

  • Hm. Shall we get this out of the way early?

    This building is ugly = YOU ARE A NAZI!
    Anonymous trolls = BROWSTONER LOVES THE KKK!
    DOB violations = OH NOES!!! ANTI-SEMITISM!
    Political sway = BURN IN HELL, YOU RACIST FUCK!

    Hope this helps.

  • Yes it’s a place of worship. Which is why it gives the impression people attend this place out of oppressive duty, not inspired passion. Which impression would you like your place of worship to give?

    It used to be communities made great effort for their churches to be the most beautiful building in the town. This is about changing attitudes about religion, and questioning what benefit or role religion really plays now; it’s not merely about aesthetics.

  • Guest 12:00–the beauty of organized religion (something upon which we’re not going to agree) does not release said religion from complying with building codes.

  • I feel less worried for the children who frequent this building. I assume that the finished facade came with the required FDNY and DOB inspections and both agencies have deemed the building fit for its intended.

  • Oh, did they break building codes? Sorry- I thought it was a fashion police moment. That’s not right.

    Hey, weren’t the beautiful old churches built by oppressing people and taking all their money? I thought it was a class thing. I understand that “the idea” was to make a palace for everyone- but I don’t think that the people who attended would be treated like royalty. I am not an authority and I am sure that it shows. Without a doubt we will have a history of religion scholar in the house. Ah, I’ve been sucked in.

    I like 12:16′s deeper thought of religion and the role it now plays but I think this really is about the fact that people think that the building is ugly- which of course it is….. does it really matter?

  • Jimmy Legs

    “neighborhood”? you mean the gas station? :)

    well, it’s clear the Satmars are not looking to dazzle anybody with architectural eye candy.

    but is this any less creative than the Lubavitchers recreating the same townhouse (770 Eastern Parkway) all over the world? well, yeah i guess it still is.

  • When I said “beautiful”, 12:29, I was including the very simple, austere churches and temples built all over the world, 12:29. I wasn’t only talking about the Vatican. When you go to worship you’re supposed to benefit in some way emotionally, not feel worse as you walk in the door! The one and only reason for religion these days is it should make people more happy. Otherwise it’s not necessary anymore in our world. We have laws, we know what to do and not to do. We know not to eat food that will make us sick. So why have religion unless we are inspired and made happy by that religion?

    Look at the Shakers and traditional New England protestants. Their churches were not the cathedrals the Catholics built. They made everything by hand cheaply. But their aesthetics have influenced countless furniture designers and architects for a very long time. It’s not always expensive to make something beautiful. Again, I assert it’s all about the attitude and intent with which the building was designed and constructed. And this is the most oppressive and miserable building they could have possibly built.

  • That’s great that you are so visual and so inspired by aesthetics- I am as well, but imagine for a moment that those things that bring you so much joy do not matter to everyone. There’s plenty of evidence on this site alone. Some people really do not care.

  • There are plenty people who have neither the time or inclination to make their own home some kind of showcase, but that doesn’t mean they hate all things beautiful. That’s absurd. Everyone certainly enjoys beauty when they encounter it. They can visit it at the park, they can go to a museum. Sometimes it’s as simple as keeping a potted flower. Church or temple on Sabbath was always one of the days of the week throughout history, people could escape the drudgery of everyday life and labor, and enjoy inspiration and something beautiful. I think it’s sad that experience is witheld from the people of this temple.

  • I didn’t say that people hate all things beautiful, I said that some people don’t care. There are many other things that are defining forces in people’s lives- like their relationship with their maker. There is plenty of evidence that the people in question are not driven by aesthetics- if they were you would see it- guaranteed.

  • When’s the domey thing going on the top?

  • No bars on the windows?

  • This community has no money; not sure what they should be obliged to do…

  • The structure has a certain, deconstructivist aesthetic akin to that seen in the Centre Pompidu in Paris. The exposed ductwork on the roof and the metal staircase without, clearly displayed as a daring response to the classical form of houses of worship or religious activity. This sect is letting it all hang out, architecturally speaking. better proportions and bolder colors might have saved this building from looking like an airport hanger/kwansit hut melee. But then it’s not too late to change a few details.

  • If this building were aesthetically pleasing, it would be out of place because everything else over there is ugly. Every time I drive through it’s just depressing. The el train, trolley tracks, city housing projects, BQE noise and fumes, double and triple parked cars, dark dingy looking buildings, etc…

  • I agree 2:05.The Hasidim can afford anything they please. They could care less about their exteriors. I grew up in Williamsburg and the norm was that the exteriors of their homes were never kept up or repaired but once you entered their homes,they had the best of everything…granite countertops, top of the line appliances and 2 at that, kosher and non kosher,chandeliers,furniture, clothes,etc. If they wanted to make the entire building gold, trust me it would be.The location of this building is across from the navy yard and a gas station.The few homes located a few blocks over on Kent are owned by Hasidim as well. Nothing much in the area anyhow so why all the fuss?

  • Actually, they may not be as deep pocketed as you think. Many receive public assistance and housing subsidies to support their large families. In addition, this was built as a place of worship for one faction of a congregation that split in two when the patriach died. The sons are now fighting over control.