‘Crossing Delancey’ 30 Years Later to See the Lost Lower East Side

Posted on: August 27th, 2018 at 5:03 am by

​Before Guss’ Pickles departed the Lower East Side in 2010 for the depths of Brooklyn, one poster in its tiny storefront always stood apart. It was a faded movie bill for Crossing Delancey, the 1988 romantic comedy starring Amy Irving that basically put the neighborhood on the silver screen. Its subtle presence at the shop made sense, since Peter Rieger’s character, Sam Posner, operated the fictional Posner’s Pickles at the old Essex Street location.

October 2009

The movie itself, released thirty years ago next month, is a perfect snapshot of the lost Jewish Lower East Side, where Judaica shops once lined Essex Street and yentas roamed Seward Park.

Essex Street, just south of Grand

Let’s jump back at the time capsule through the eyes of Crossing Delancey

Canal and Rutgers Streets

The film opens with Izzy, the romantic lead, exiting the subway at Delancey/Essex, with the cheesy music of The Roches playing in the background (“Come Softly to Me”). A young Orthodox boy is wolfing down snacks from Gertel’s bakery. But if you look more closely, the scene is actually captured down at the East Broadway F station. Izzy then walks northward, giving the viewer a taste of the Jewish Lower East Side that no longer exists.

A few other tidbits – Posner plays handball at the Seward Park athletic field during his breaks from the job; Izzy shops with her grandmother (bubbie) inside the Essex Street Market; Bubbie lives in the Seward Park co-op on Grand Street.

Inside the Essex Street Market

And for an obligatory bonus: dude blasting Run-DMC at the Gray’s Papaya on 72nd and Broadway.

Recent Stories

Cajun Quietly Comes to Hell Square with ‘Parish NYC’

Out of nowhere, this new Cajun spot for Hell Square. Parish debuted last month at 146 Orchard Street. The arrival of Parish (the word for “county” in Louisiana) comes on the heels of Butcher Bar, the Astoria-based barbecue bar that shuttered back in September after little more than a year. According to its mission statement […]

NYC Half Marathon Foists Thousands of Runners onto the Lower East Side Next Month

On your mark, get set … for thousands of marathoners on the proverbial doorstep. The New York City Half Marathon is less than a month out, and for the second year running, the Lower East Side is in the crosshairs. The race route shifted last year to include spanning the Manhattan Bridge, Canal Street, and […]

Bowery Demolition Site Hits Market for $26M

One year ago, side-by-side three-story tenements comprising 139-141 Bowery were quickly demolished. The narrative at the time was that of a mixed-use replacement tower to rise in its place. Instead, it’s been crickets for much of the interim. Now, the double-wide property – measuring 50-by-100 feet – is on the chopping block for a hefty […]

Did You Spend $22 at Tower Records on Valentine’s Day 1985?

Here’s a fun find. Local music ephemera from 1985. Bowery Boogie contributor Robert Carmona discovered this pristine receipt from Tower Records while working a residential construction job on East 3rd Street. Date of the archaic transaction is Valentine’s Day 1985, most likely at the store nearby on East 4th Street (RIP 2006). One item was […]

Lesbian Shopkeepers on Orchard Street Win Empire State Building’s Valentine’s Day Wedding Contest

Love is in the air! One Lower East Side couple will have their heads in the clouds this Valentine’s Day. Literally. Co-owners of home design store, Coming Soon on Orchard Street, Fabiana Faria and Helena Barquet were one of two couples to win the Empire State Building’s 25th annual “Valentine’s Day Wedding Contest.” Their 15-minute […]