Vestibules are places of transition and certainly the shift from crowded Lower East Side streets to the Eldridge Street Synagogue’s magnificent interior would have been dramatic. When early congregants climbed the front stairs and entered the synagogue’s vestibule, they experienced a true sense of sanctuary. Left behind were the crowded, dirty and smelly streets, teeming with immigrants, pushcarts and horse-drawn wagons. Pausing in the vestibule, congregants might use one of two marble sinks – a luxury at the time – to wash off the grime of the streets, and perhaps take a moment to prepare for prayer. This space may even have seemed large and open to congregants – it is about the size of an average tenement apartment – but it would be nothing compared to what was in store when they opened the inner doors of the vestibule and entered the sanctuary.