Forward Building on Lower East Side to start marketing this monrth

March 1, 2006

Marketing of 29 residential condominium apartments in the Forward Building at 175 East Broadway is expected to begin in about two weeks.

The 10-story building was designed in Beaux-Arts style in 1912 by George A. Boehn, who also designed the very ornate mid-rise, mid-block building at 165 West 57th Street across from Carnegie Hall in 1916.

The Forward building, perhaps the most prominent, most attractive and important landmark on the Lower East Side, was erected as the headquarters of the Jewish Daily Forward.

The richly ornamented facade was "Forward Building" incised above its arched entrance in English and in Yiddish near the top of the building.

The Forward was founded by Abraham Cahan in 1897 and became the largest Yiddish-language daily newspaper in the world with a circulation that grew to about 200,000.

It was rather secularist and did not print information about holy days and synagogue events, according to one published report and became the most influential newspaper supporting the labor movement and was known at one time as the "Forverts." A large neon sign on the roof displayed the paper's name in English toward the Manhattan Bridge and in Yiddish along East Broadway.

One of the newspaper's popular features was the Bintel Brief column which offering advice to letters from Jewish immigrants.

In 1918, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn held the founding conference of the Workers Liberty Defense Union at the building, defending members of the I. W. W., the Socialist Party and the unions who were jailed for the opposition to the entry of the United States into World War I.

Two years later, the Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee held their first meeting in the building.

The building, which has deeply inset windows and ornate pilasters that run up most of the building, has spectacular views over Seward Park, the first municipal playground in the United States, to midtown as well as great views to the south of the Lower Manhattan skyline.

In 1974, the newspaper sold the building to the Lau family and relocated to 49 East 33rd Street. The Lau family used the building's first two floors as a Chinese church and bible factory and kept the rest of the building vacant until 1998 when it sought to convert it to about 39 condominium apartments that went on the market just before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and they were subsequently withdrawn from the market.

During renovations, statues of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels were moved but returned to their "rightful place, and in 2004 the building was sold to Ron Castellano and Christopher Hayes, who recently converted the Garfield Building not far away at 142 Henry Street.

Mr. Castellano and Mr. Hayes finished the renovation and obtained a certificate of occupancy as well as approval from the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Mr. Castellano has told CityRealty.com that many of the lower floor units have unusual layouts and that units will have high ceilings and range in size from about 600 to 4,200 square feet and that all layouts will be different.

Prices in the building, which will have a doorman, are expected to range from about $620,000 to more than $5,000,000.


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