History

Walking Jack Kirby’s Lower East Side

Posted August 26, 2021 at 5:02 am

Saturday marks the 104th birthday of the late-great comic book illustrator Jack Kirby. To make the occasion, the museum charged with carrying on the Kirby legacy is hosting a walking tour of his Lower East Side youth. Kirby himself was born Jacob Kurtzberg in 1917 at 147 Essex Street. He remains a comic book legend […]

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Streets

This Twitter Bot Maps Current NYC Locations of Long Gone Synagogues

Posted August 18, 2021 at 5:00 am

While the Lower East Side could be considered the geographic soul of American Judaism, there isn’t much to show for it these days. Nevertheless, much of those roots remain rather visible. Indeed, walking the neighborhood streets, it’s commonplace to see old synagogues repurposed in different ways. From multimillion-dollar condo conversions to upscale event halls. To […]

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Wesley Williams, the First Black Firefighter in NYC, Chatting with Great Grandson [INTERVIEW]

Last modified June 11, 2021 at 5:15 pm

Now more than ever, the story of Wesley Williams must be told. As the first African American firefighter to join the Fire Department, Williams defied the odds again and became Chief in 1919. His detail was Engine 55, which is still active at 363 Broome Street in Little Italy (where Steve Buscemi volunteered). He later […]

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Fear and Loathing Gentrification on the Bowery, Circa 1904

Posted May 20, 2021 at 5:09 am

His name was Chuck Connors, the unofficial “mayor” of Chinatown at the turn of last century. Connors lived on Doyers Street and was friends with Richard K. Fox, founding owner of the historic lifestyle magazine Police Gazette. He lived there rent-free due to a purported arrangement with the publication to which he provided a man-on-the-street […]

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Streets

Pomp and Prayer: A Synagogue for the Stars and Sculptors on the Lower East Side

Posted February 12, 2021 at 5:03 am

Like so many other former Lower East Side synagogues, 58 Rivington Street is a misnomer, now private residence and studios. In contrast to its religious history. But this house of worship – known for much of its life as the First Warschauer Congregation – later became one for the stars. Celebrities of the neighborhood. Among […]

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East Broadway Subway Station Turns 85

Posted January 15, 2021 at 5:00 am

The East Broadway subway station wasn’t always a shady dungeon attracting crime. Once upon a time, the transit stop inspired celebrations across the Lower East Side. It was exactly eighty-five years ago – January 1, 1936 – that the East Broadway subway station debuted to the public. The feat of subterranean engineering, then known as […]

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Remembering the Forgotten Rooftop Sign of Monk Eastman’s Eldridge Street Tailor

Last modified December 10, 2020 at 9:16 am

Sitting atop an Eldridge Street tenement, weathered by time and atmosphere, is a rusty remnant of the past. It dates back nearly a century, yet remains part of the Lower East Side skyline. The advertecture once boasted sky-high lettering for Witty Brothers, the famous turn-of-the-century clothier who dressed Monk Eastman. The warehouse-looking building at 50-52 […]

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When ‘Forward’ Lit the Way on East Broadway

Last modified December 2, 2020 at 11:08 am

There was a time when the lights burned bright above East Broadway. And we’re not talking about the sign for 169 Bar. Indeed, the iconic Jewish Daily Forward building at 175 East Broadway – designated a city landmark in 1983 – once boasted rooftop lighting that may have rivaled those of the Atlantic City boardwalk. […]

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Museum of Chinese in America Brings Home Fire-Damaged Artifacts

Posted October 14, 2020 at 5:03 am

Some heartening news to report from the Museum of Chinese in America. The archives are coming home. After a devastating five-alarm fire destroyed the roof and upper floors of 70 Mulberry Street back in January, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services rescued roughly one hundred boxes of archival material from the museum’s research center. Recovery […]

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Celebrating Rosh Hashanah in the 1900s Lower East Side [PHOTOS]

Posted September 18, 2020 at 5:09 am

Sundown tonight marks the beginning of the Jewish new year with the holiday of Rosh Hashanah. To celebrate, below is a small collection of photos, courtesy of the Library of Congress, illustrating how Jews of the early 1900s celebrated the holiest of days while living in the ghetto of the Lower East Side. You’ll notice […]

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