“Unterzakhn” Graphic Novel Portrays Lower East Side, Circa 1910

Posted on: April 26th, 2012 at 11:19 am by

We love graphic novels, and were especially thrilled to learn of a recent release that focuses on the early twentieth century Lower East Side. Time to re-tool our reading list!

Unterzakhn is the latest long-form comic book from author-illustrator Leela Corman, whose previous publishing credits include Queens Day and Subway Series. The story, titled in Yiddish meaning “Underthings,” plots the chronicle of immigrant twin sisters Esther and Fanya in 1910. Knopf/Doubleday press materials peg the narrative as a coming-of-age tale on the Lower East Side “where life’s lessons are learned quickly and often cruelly.” For instance, Esther works for burlesque theater and whorehouse operator, Fanya for an obstetrician who performs illegal abortions.

Photo Credit: Knopf/Doubleday

Corman is currently on tour promoting the book, and will conclude plugging festivities at the MoCCA Festival this weekend.

As part of the PR campaign, the official website also published some awesome Yiddish flashcards. We’ve borrowed a couple for your enjoyment:

Recent Stories

sanitation-prep
Nearly 2 Feet of Snow is Coming, One Sanitation Worker Prepares

Everyone is getting ready for the imminent snowstorm this week, which could dump nearly two feet of snow on New York City. Whole Foods is notoriously elbow-to-elbow busy with doomsday shoppers. Down at the Department of Sanitation silo of salt, preparations are underway to ensure supply is ample. Caught this lone bulldozer sitting atop an enormous […]

Construction on East Houston will never end
M15 Bus Service Rerouted Thanks to Neverending Roadwork on East Houston

The neverending clusterfuck of construction on East Houston apparently requires an army of machinery. At last count the embattled traffic artery now boasts eight backhoes and related equipment, positioned between Forsyth and Allen. In addition, a double wide shoulder was created outside the Sunshine Cinema. Such roadwork is wreaking havoc on traffic patterns with no end in […]

100norfolk-sunday-work
Weekend Construction Continues at 100 Norfolk Without After-Hours Variance

Lawlessness seems to thrive these days at the corner of Norfolk and Delancey Streets. On one hand, you’ve got controversial landlord Samy Mahfar who is converting #102 to luxury and already exposed tenants to toxic levels of lead dust; right next door at #100 is the 12-story cantilevered condo project by Adam America which commissions […]

provident-loan-society-building
Demolition Likely for Provident Loan Society Building on East Houston; New Development on the Horizon

It’s truly unfortunate when you discover that a particular architectural treasure is not officially landmarked and is then demolished for luxury living. This trend is endemic of the Lower East Side lately, its very character endangered. And we’re probably losing another. The latest victim of the onslaught is allegedly the Provident Loan Society building at the […]

yonah-schimmel-outside
Rumor: A Century Later, Yonah Schimmel’s Knishes May Close Due to Rent Hike

Not even a month into 2015, and already the high-profile Lower East Side closures are stacking up. The greats are fading. Streit’s Matzo obviously comes to mind, with fifth-generation ownership having sold the Rivington Street factory after 90 years on the block. That teary goodbye – and subsequent relocation to New Jersey – is planned […]