CB3 Supports Co-Naming Broome Street Block for Former President of Kehila Kedosha Janina

Posted on: February 11th, 2016 at 5:00 am by
This image has been archived or removed.

Forever deemed the smelliest block in all of Manhattan, the northwest corner of Broome and Allen Streets is getting a makeover. In name only. Gears are now in motion to bestow a more palatable designation. One that is way more honorable – street co-naming for a former pillar of the community. That’s right, “Hy Genee Way” is on the way.

Who’s that, you ask?

Born and raised in the neighborhood, Hy Genee was a big macher for decades, known as Mr. Lower East Side long before Rev Jen started her popular variety show. Due to a lifetime of service to the community, both as a tailor on Delancey Street and president of Kehila Kedosha Janina, Genee was able to single-handedly keep the synagogue alive for decades.

So, local advocates feel the time is nigh to rename this small stretch of roadway in his honor. Led by congregant Andrew Marcus, the synagogue pitched the Transportation subcommittee of Community Board 3 this week, and the application sailed through without much incident. Unanimous approval. It was one of the more professional applications we’ve seen; they definitely did their homework. Support signatures from residents in the immediate vicinity exceeded the requisite 150, plus endorsements from Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy and the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative.

This image has been archived or removed.

Hy Genee with wife Lil and mother Fani, Photo: KKJ

(This corner is also the location of the now-annual Greek Jewish Festival, which had its inaugural outing last spring.)

However, any time these co-namings appear on the CB3 monthly agendas, the panel winces. We’re living in a post-Beastie Boys Square world, after all. Because of that well publicized (nay, embarrassing) ordeal, there was some deeper ridicule regarding Hy’s “community involvement” to ensure DOT wouldn’t dispute.

In the end, it was really the impassioned testimony of museum director Marcia Ikonomopoulos that sold the panel. She reminisced about getting her feet wet in Kehila Kedosha Janina and questioning Genee about keeping the congregation alive. How the former president bled for his birth neighborhood and wanted to educate the world about the congregation, which, at one time, served the hundreds of Greek Jews from Janina (Ioannina) who lived on the block. Through Genee’s service, this obscure community survived the hard times to keep the tradition afloat on the Lower East Side.

This image has been archived or removed.

The synagogue in 1939, Photo: KKJ

Hy Genee died in February 2006 at the age of 83.

Kehila Kedosha Janina began in 1907 when families from the Greek town of Janina organized a congregation. The current facility was not erected until 1927, and is the only Romaniote synagogue in the Western Hemisphere. It remains one of the only Jewish congregations in the neighborhood with an active minyan (prayer) on Saturday mornings. The building received landmark status in 2004, and underwent a major renovation two years later.

Recent Stories

Delivery Worker Slashed and Mugged in Ridge Street Condo

A food delivery worker on the job was slashed across the face Sunday evening while in the elevator of a luxury condo building on Ridge Street, according to police. The unidentified victim, a 29-year-old man, had been in the elevator of 78 Ridge Street (Ridge Street Residences nee River Ridge Condo) when he was approached by […]

Under Community Pressure, City Moves to Renovate Rivington Playground

As Sara D. Roosevelt Park continues its steady descent, area stakeholders are pushing to rehabilitate a key playground in the northern section of the park to stave off the danger element. The Rivington Street Playground, situated across from the M’finda Kalunga Garden, is next on the docket for a refresh, much in the same way […]

‘Belse’ Erases Paulaner from the Bowery Ahead of New Vegan Brewery

A vegan brewery and restaurant is poised to open on the Bowery, taking the place of the failed, and since fallow, Paulaner Brauhaus. Indeed, as previously reported, Dallas-based Belse is on board to take over 265-267 Bowery. The relative newcomer – which began life last February – will go even bigger with this larger Lower […]

Moscot Moves HQ from the Corner to New Orchard Street Store

Moscot is no longer on the corner, leaving behind Orchard and Delancey for a spot just paces to the south. And for the first time in its history, no rent to pay. As first reported by Bowery Boogie earlier this year, the centenary opticians chose the mid-block space at 94 Orchard as new base of […]

Mark Miller Reopens Orchard Street Gallery This Week with Street Artist Hektad

The Mark Miller Gallery returns to Orchard Street this week, and is enlisting the help of an established graffiti writer to help relaunch. The longtime Lower East Side showroom will reopen on Wednesday – after a two-year pandemic hiatus – with an exhibit featuring Hektad. “Looking at the graffiti art of Hektad is like finding […]