Shtetl Fabulous: Upper East Side Developer Michael Bolla Puts His Money on Reviving the Jewish Lower East Side
The members of the Upper West Side’s Carlebach Shul had nearly polished off their halibut and grilled squash when the band struck up “Killing me Softly,” and Roberta Flack took the stage inside the St. Regis ballroom. Ms. Flack, clad in a rustling black gown, leaned in close to the microphone, and, to the great disappointment of many guests, launched into a speech rather than her famous song.
“I’m here to honor a special friend of mine. Someone I’ve known more than a year—a couple of years—and who is very dear to me,” were the opening lines of a brief address that ended with Ms. Flack handing a large hunk of engraved glass to Michael Bolla, whom the synagogue was honoring as “the force behind the recent and much publicized Jewish revitalization of the Lower East Side.”
Ms. Flack vanished almost immediately, but Mr. Bolla remained until almost midnight, basking in the praises of his fellow congregants.
Shouldering the burden of the Lower East Side’s salvation is a far cry from Mr. Bolla’s last project, which saw the 44-year-old real estate broker and developer restoring antique Czechoslovakian crystal chandeliers and Italian plaster ceiling medallions at a mansion in Chelsea. Read More