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Bialystoker Nursing Home Future Unclear

Activists want building declared a landmark

Stephanie Butnick
February 07, 2012
Bialystoker Nursing Home.(Julia Manzerova/Flickr)
Bialystoker Nursing Home.(Julia Manzerova/Flickr)

The Bialystoker Nursing Home, established by Jewish immigrants from Bialystok and a longtime presence in the historical landscape of the Lower East Side, faces an uncertain future. The building will be sold unless activists succeed in getting it designated a landmark—it’s currently under consideration by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.

On Sunday, activists and supporters attended an event called “The Bialystoker Home: Past, Present, Future,” designed to showcase the building’s cultural significance and strengthen the arguments for landmark status. The Lo-Down reported yesterday:

The home, shuttered months ago, was until recently being marketed online as a development site. That listing has now vanished, amid rumors that the secretive Bialystoker board was close to signing a deal to sell the building. They have apparently signaled that the prospective buyer would surely walk away from the negotiating table if the the building is designated as an historic landmark. This afternoon there are new indications that a contract could be inked as soon as this week.

According to the same article, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has stayed out of the issue:

“Among the Speaker’s most ardent supporters on the Lower East Side, members of Grand Street’s Jewish community, there has been little enthusiasm for saving the Bialystoker, in spite of the building’s significance as a Jewish landmark.”

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.