The millinery industry was well established in the Garment District by 1920, concentrated in the area between 35th and 40th Streets, from Fifth to Sixth Avenues. In 1931, there were nearly 600 hat manufacturers in New York employing some 15,000 workers and comprising two thirds of the national trade. When it was founded in 1935, the Millinery Center Synagogue's congregation worshipped in a loft building. By 1948, when the current synagogue building was completed, the congregation numbered 1,200. Built by and for milliners, the synagogue was both a symbolic expression of Jewish culture within the industry and a social center. Along with the millinery union, regular supporters included the Millinery Bowling League, the Millinery Textile Cub, the Millinery Salesman Union and retailers throughout the city. Memorial plaques line the walls, extolling the virtues of those who served the millinery industry as well as the synagogue.
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