The Angel Orensanz Building, located at 172 Norfolk Street in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, is a historic landmark with a rich and varied history. It’s also one of my favorite wedding venues in the whole city! It’s where Leah and Jeff got married, and I can’t think of a better venue for them to have had their wild Jewish, Scottish, and VERY New York wedding. From the start of the day at the Ludlow Hotel to Scottish dancers teaching guests the Gay Gordons seconds after the hora, the whole day was Leah and Jeff through and through.
Preparation for Leah took place at the Ludlow Hotel, just blocks from Angel Orensanz.
The Ludlow’s interior is described as a mix of “Trustafarian meets Miss Havisham”. It features oak panel-lined walls, marble mosaic floors, and a grand distressed limestone fireplace. The lobby atrium, designed to evoke the feel of downtown lofts hosting exclusive gatherings, leads to an outdoor garden and the ‘Dirty French’ bistro.
This design ethos aims to make the hotel a ‘living room’ for the neighborhood, offering a distinctly New York experience away from the typical tourist trail
The hotel offers 184 guest rooms, including 20 suites. These rooms are designed to provide a personal and private experience, featuring hardwood floors with handmade silk rugs, handcrafted Moroccan pendant lamps, Indo-Portuguese style beds, and unique ‘tree-trunk’ nightstands.
Special attention is given to relaxation amenities in the bustling cityscape, with features like rain shower heads, fluffy dressing gowns, and luxury bath products. The Loft King Terrace rooms on the 15th floor are particularly notable for their spacious layout and terrace views of New York
While Leah got ready at the Ludlow Hotel, Jeff was across the street at the Hotel Indigo.
The Hotel Indigo Lower East Side offers a modern, cool, and edgy vibe, reflecting the street art and urban feel of the neighborhood. It’s known for its spacious rooms with a contemporary design, comfortable beds, and gorgeous bathrooms. The attention to detail in the decor, including elements like a leather “bar cart” and spray paint can cocktail shaker, enhances its unique character.
Then it was back over to the Ludlow Hotel for a sweet first look on the hotel room balcony.
After their first look, Leah and Jeff took photos on the streets surrounding the Ludlow Hotel and Angel Orensanz with one of my favorite wedding vendors of all times, Film Cars. Their college of vintage taxis is simply impossible to beat, and it’s always so fun to see everyone on the street do double-takes when we pass by!
We took more photos around the Lower East Side before heading to Angel Orensanz for more photos of Leah and Jeff, as well as family and wedding party photos. The timing of the day was perfect, as we were ending their photos just as the early sunset was taking place.
You might wonder “why are you taking pictures in front of a restaurant supply company?” This building was once the home of a shop in Leah’s family, so it was especially sentimental to stop by for a few images.
Where does one even START to talk about Angel Orensanz??
Constructed in 1849, the Angel Orensanz Building is the oldest surviving synagogue in New York City and the fourth oldest in the United States. At the time of its construction, it was the largest synagogue in the country, notable for its Gothic Revival architectural style, a rarity for synagogue buildings.
The synagogue was initially used by the congregation Ansche Chesed (People of Kindness). After they moved to a new location in 1874, the building was taken over by Congregation Shaari Rachmim. Over the years, the building was used by various congregations, reflecting the dynamic nature of the Jewish community in New York City.
The building continued to serve as a place of worship until 1974. However, like many urban religious structures from the 19th century, it faced challenges due to changes in the neighborhood demographics, urban development, and the movement of communities to other areas.
In a significant turn of events, in 1986, the building was purchased by Ángel Orensanz, a Spanish sculptor and painter. His acquisition marked the beginning of a new chapter in the building’s history.
Orensanz converted the building into a contemporary art and performance space. This conversion was a part of the broader trend of repurposing old and historic buildings for new, often cultural, uses. It represented a fusion of the old (the building’s rich history and architectural grandeur) with the new (contemporary art and performance).
It’s truly one of the most unique wedding venues in Manhattan, a place where there is no shortage of unique spaces!
When it comes to locations for Angel Orensanz wedding photography, the options are endless. Some of my favorite spots include the stunning stained-glass windows in the main sanctuary, which provide a range of opportunities for dramatic and timeless images. The venue’s grand ballroom is also an ideal location for capturing images that are both romantic and dramatic, with its ornate ceilings and elegant chandeliers providing the perfect backdrop for classic wedding photography.
We were working with an especially stellar team for Leah and Jeff, including:
- Planner: Whitney Events
- Caterer: Esprit
- Floral design: New City Floral
- Hair : Vanessa Ocando
- Transportation: Film Cars
- Entertainment: MTM DJ
- Photo booth: Flux
- Rentals: Smith
- Bagpiper: NYC Bagpipes
- Scottish dancers: Shots of Scotch Dancer
In conclusion, Angel Orensanz is the perfect venue for couples who are looking for a location that is both classic and modern, with a sense of grandeur and drama that is truly awe-inspiring. Its stunning Gothic architecture, convenient location, and flexibility made it an ideal local for Leah and Jeff!