Lower East Side synagogue evacuated after balcony buckles

Structure at 172 Norfolk Street will be deemed unsafe to occupy, officials say

From left: Angel Orensanz And 172 Norfolk Street
From left: Angel Orensanz And 172 Norfolk Street

Roughly 500 people were evacuated from a landmarked synagogue on the Lower East Side yesterday evening after a balcony inside the structure began to sag, according to reports. No one was reported hurt in the incident.

Scanners reported a load-bearing support column for A Balcony Inside 172 Norfolk Street has a large crack, Bowery Boogie reported. A spokesperson for the fire department said the synagogue, which houses the Angel Orensanz Foundation, will be deemed unsafe to occupy, Gothamist reported.

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The incident occurred during the spring gala for the Soho Repertoire group.

The Department of Buildings will inspect the 6,344-square-foot structure between East Houston and Stanton streets, which is more than 100 years old, according to Gothamist. Like many older buildings in the city, the property does not have a certificate of occupancy filed with the city, according to a review of public record.

The church, a “replica of the Sistine Chapel in Rome,” was last renovated by the Spanish sculptor and painter Angel Orensanz in 1978, according to the foundation’s website. An LLC is listed in public record as the current owner of the building. [Bowery Boogie] and [Gothamist]Angela Hunt