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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)

Carter's View

The former Jewish Daily Forward Building at 173 East Broadway, perhaps the most prominent and important landmark on the Lower East Side, is being converted into 29 condominium apartments by Ron Castellano and Christopher Hayes, who recently converted the Garfield Building not far away at 142 Henry Street.

The Forward Building was designed in 1912 in Beaux-Arts style 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.

Its richly ornamented facade has the Forward Building incised above its arched entrance in English and in Yiddish near the top of the 10-story building.

It was erected as the headquarters of the Jewish Daily Forward until it was sold to the Lau family in 1974 and it moved to its present location at 49 East 33rd Street.

Mr. Castellano told CityRealty.Com today that the Law 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 they sought to convert it to about 39 condominiums. It was put it on the condo market just before Sept. 11, 2001, however, and afterwards the apartments came off 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.

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 and recently submitted an offering plan to the New York State Attorney General's Office.

Mr. Castellano said 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.

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. The newspaper is now published weekly in three languages, Yiddish, English and Russian.

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.
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Additional Info About the Building

 
Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.