Kingston Jewish temple to become neon art studio


Typical Lite Brite Neon Studio product

KINGSTON – The Conservative Jewish Temple in Uptown Kingston, Congregation Ahavath Israel, is about to go through a brilliant glowing transformation.
The Zoning Board of Appeals held a special session Friday, approving a variance for the building at 100 Lucas Avenue, to become a neon art studio, operated by the future owner, Lite Brite Neon Studio Inc., currently located in Brooklyn.
The purchaser is a collective of craftspeople that specializes in the production of neon art, display, luminous visual props and architectural lighting through a collaborative approach. “We seek to transform and transmit the power of light art and display as a viable medium to convey the mystical truths that surround us in everyday life,” says the company website.
The ZBA vote passed 3-1, with one abstention; however, with several restrictions to the change of use. The building will be allowed to conduct light manufacturing activities in a residential district, creating custom neon displays, but only during regular business hours, and limited to 20 employees and just five deliveries per day.  Additionally, glass tube manufacturing will be prohibited.
Over 30 speakers voiced their opinion at the hearing, which lasted roughly three hours. Residents were evenly split in their comments both for and against the proposal.
Congregation Ahavath Israel, the current property owner and ZBA applicant, suffered floundering membership in recent years, dwindling down to about 10 people. The temple had been on the market for two years, when the offer of $450,000 was made by the fluorescent newcomers.
Several other backup buyers were also interested in the parcel, including a Hasidic group, which backed out because they were unable to purchase additional homes in the immediate vicinity to support another temple congregation.
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