Hyperlocal Haggadah: The 10 Plagues of the Lower East Side this Passover

Posted on: April 22nd, 2016 at 12:35 pm by

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Extell’s controversial 80-story waterfront tower

Every year at the Passover seder table, participants recite the Ten Plagues that the almighty brought down on the Egyptians, who had enslaved the ancient Hebrews.

But why not identify the plagues afflicting the neighborhood this spring. Inspired by an eight-year-old blog post of same by Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, we decided to compile an addendum of sorts.

These are Ten Plagues visited upon the Lower East Side, etched in the hyperlocal haggadah, if there ever was one.

Spill a drop of wine…


The bad guys who categorically push out tenants, usually rent stabilized, in the name of luxury. And get away with it, too.

Sheldon Silver

His corruption and abuse of power adversely affected the neighborhood. In protecting his Grand Street base, it came out that he intentionally left the SPURA lots along Delancey Street vacant so that the displaced (mainly Puerto Rican) families could not return. That’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. He’s headed to the slammer after sentencing next month.

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Photo: Daily News


The excessive rat population down here is more in line with the Biblical plagues. Self explanatory.

Rivington House

The former HIV/AIDS home at 45 Rivington Street was sold for $116 million thanks to the city lifting of a deed that required nonprofit operations here. It’s become a big scandal for Mayor de Blasio, who claims he knew bupkis about the deal. US Attorney Preet Bharara is investigating the sale, among other local politicians.


The real estate firm’s development of an 80-story waterfront (One Manhattan Square) property is a permanent plague that will eclipse the sight of the Manhattan Bridge and spur rent escalations in a low-income neighborhood.

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East Houston Roadwork

Roadwork to replace the infrastructure beneath Houston Street has been ongoing for over ten years. It’ll never stop, despite promises of an autumn completion.

Hell Square Over-saturation

It’s the most saturated zone of liquor licenses in the city. There are more than fifty licensed establishments (i.e. bars) in a tiny nine square-block radius.

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The Stench at Allen and Broome

This spot is known, and confirmed, as the smelliest block in Manhattan. Enter if you dare.

The Stalled Allen Street Hotel

Eight years later, it’s safe to say that this sixteen-story eyesore will never be finished. The development went through foreclosure and is currently being auctioned.

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Orchard Street, August 2015

Donald Trump

Not really Lower East Side-related. But the presidential candidate is the father-in-law of hated East Village landlord (and Observer owner) Jared Kushner.

Are we missing any…?

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