It’s an odd conceit: Converting a two-story house in Borough Park, Brooklyn, into a museum featuring the stuffed bodies of all the animals of the Torah. But stranger things have graced the culture landscape in New York. And most didn’t last for five years. So today we salute you, Torah Animal World, for capturing our imagination.
Beset by financial woes, officials at Torah Animal World — which boasts every animal mentioned in the first five books of the Old Testament — said there’s no choice but to hoof it out of Borough Park.
“I tried to work through the terrible economy that we’re in, but it just came to a point that we now had to make a decision to sell it,” said Rabbi Shaul Shimon Deutsch, who owns and operates the museum.
Many of the house’s 350 animals were donated although the operation paid out of pocket for some of the rarer creatures, such as the mighty elephant. A ten-dollar ticket, 35,000 visitors passed through the house annually, to gaze upon all the biblical wildlife (minus the offensive pig) and to learn about the minutiae of Jewish dietary laws.
Most impressively, the house hosting the museum went on the market a few weeks ago with the pictures of the museum’s creatures still intact. A thousand desperate New York home-seekers were rumored to have mumbled I could live with this if it’s a good school district. Listed just below a cool $1 million, the house on 41st Street in Borough Park instantly became the source of derision. The real estate blog Curbed drew attention to the house in its Funky Friday Listings (not a religious designation) calling it “funkiest listing in recent memory.”
Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.