When a friend of mine was in Williamsburg late one night for a wedding, he explored the neighborhood a little bit, and told me that he stumbled upon the old Young Israel of Brooklyn I wrote about here, one of the important sites in historic Williamsburg, and had a conversation with the purported owner of the property. My friend learned from the owner that...

In a previous post, I wrote about the Satmar Rabbi's influence on the Williamsburg community, and that his anti-zionist stance can be seen all over Williamsburg, even among non-Satmar sects, in the absence of pro-Israeli symbols in its streets. Where Israeli flags and Jewish Stars were commonplace in Williamsburg before the non-Hasidic Orthodox population left, the Jewish stars have been vanishing....

In the first installment, I looked at the modest Klausenburg synagogue at 131 Lee Avenue that used to be a motion picture theater. A few blocks away, at 27 Lee Avenue, we have the huge Vien Synagogue that used to be a theater too, but for its story, we need to go back much further in time. In the buildings on its...

I wrote about the Hanover Mansion that's now the Vien's Girls School a few weeks ago. I was looking for pictures of the interior, and yesterday, I was lucky enough to be allowed in to take a few. The students all seemed to know that the significance of the building is its history as the "Rothschild Mansion". I told them that it...

The Klausenburg Synagogue at 131 Lee Avenue, Beth Baruch, used to be a small movie theater that had just one screen and 550 seats. Because there was only one movie showing at a time and it seems, from accounts of those who went, that it was a small, intimate environment.  It was active from about the late 1920s to 1950. It was first...

The Satmar Rabbi's opposition to zionism, based the three oath's cited in the Talmud, could be felt in many ways in Hasidic Williamsburg. This Biblical Hebrew (distinguished from Modern Hebrew) graffiti on a wall on Bedford Avenue reads "A Jew is not a Zionist." But there is a subtler marker in its streets that tells you Williamsburg is now influenced by Satmar anti-zionist ideology. The...

In many ways, I think of Vien's girls' school building as an excellent example of the rich and colorful history of Williamsburg. Jewish Williamsburg was influenced by three waves of Jewish immigration. Roughly: I. rich German Jews that settled in the first half of the 1800s, II. Eastern European Jews who emigrated in the years from approximately 1880 until the immigration quotas...

This is a really interesting example of how many phases Williamsburg has been through it its rich history. Once upon a time, the Skverer Yeshiva in Williamsburg on Heyward Street was home to America's Wonder Bread factory. They used to make Twinkies, too, as both Wonder and Hostess were owned by a baking conglomerate called Continental Baking.  Twitter user TrafficAdvisory writes "I grew up...