Simon Bernard Zelnik, A 1924

Simon Bernard Zelnik was born in Austria on June 3, 1894. He became a U.S. citizen in 1920. He graduated from The Cooper Union art school in 1924, from the Beaux Arts Institute of Design in 1930, and from New York University in 1931.  The degree from NYU was in architecture.  While attending The Cooper Union, he worked as a draftsman with Necarsulmer & Lehlbach in 1923 and  for Rosario Candela in 1924. From 1924 to 1931 he was part of the Rouse & Goldstone office, becoming an Associate in 1929.  In 1932 he opened his own practice.

He designed multiple office and apartment buildings in New York City.  He also designed stores, theaters and synagogues.

He designed multiple movie theaters in New York City.  One of those survives. Originally it was the Elgin Theater. It is now a dance theater known as the Joyce Theater at 175 Eighth Avenue.  It is in the Art Moderne style.  He also designed a theater that was located at 207-209 Park Row, and one that was located on 82nd Street in Jackson Heights.





Simon Zelnik designed the Congregational Family of Riverdale Temple, located at  3700 Independence Avenue.   Simon Zelnik was also a member of and a trustee of this temple. Another temple that he designed in the Bronx opened in 1962.  The Temple of Young Israel is located on the Grand Concourse at 165th Street. Governor Rockefeller was present for the opening festivities.


Simon Zelnik taught in New York. From 1931 to 1952 he was Assistant Professor of Design at New York University. From 1946 to 1947 he served as lecturer at Adelphi College.


He was married to Salomea Zelnick and they had two sons, Reginald and Martin.  He passed away September 1, 1980.


Hewitt Prize in Design from The Cooper Union in 1922 and 1923; Second Medals from the Beaux Arts Institute of Design in 1929.  Cooper Union Presidential Citation in 1956.  He was inducted into The Cooper Union Hall of Fame in 2009.



  1. Philadelphia Architects and Buildings Project, Link
  2. Wikipedia entry for Elgin Theater, Link
  3. Naturalization Record, US District Court House, Brooklyn, NY. 12/23/1920, on, Link
  4. Death Record on Moose, Link
  5. Plan Business Block, New York Times, 2/02/1935, Link
  6. New Store Group Fully Occupied, New York Times, 2/12/1939,  Link
  7. Living Standard is Seen Moving Up, New York Times, 10/07/1956, Link
  8. Riverdale Rabbi Gets Synagogue, The New York Times, 9/22/1957, Link
  9. Governor Helps Dedicate new Synagogue in The Bronx, The New York Times, 4/09/1962, Link
  10. Death Notices, New York Times, 9/15/1980, Link