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Church > Synagogue > Shake Shack
On the north-west corner of 5th and 125th Street, the lot occupied by Shake Shack and the check cashing business was, at one point the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church of Harlem.
In the photo (above – Robert Bracklow, photographer) from 1905, you can see the church building, and (further west and next door) the tall Flemish style (white) YMCA on 125th Street.
Looking carefully at the church, however, you may notice an absence. There are no crosses on the pinnacles, nor at the top of the pediment.
The reason? At this point, in 1905, the building had been purchased by one of Harem’s Jewish congregations – Temple Israel – and now was their home of worship.
Eventually this synagogue was demolished and now, Shake Shack occupies this corner of 125/5th.
Gotham To Go has a great article on East Harlem’s African Burial Ground. Make sure to check it out: