We asked Laura Silver, the woman who dressed as a five foot tall knish and paraded down Second Avenue yesterday, to write a few words about her experience. Here is her full report:
Laura Silver revived "Knish Alley" with a processional down Second Avenue yesterday. (photo by Syd Bolton, a Londoner who caught the images while he was strolling Second Avenue on his holidays.)
They came from the Bronx. They came from Boston, They came from Newfoundland and yes, they came from the Lower East Side. They came to join in the knish processional and some of them were people I had never seen before.
Village East (Cinema) let us enter and pay homage to the plaque to Yiddish Actors inside the theater. Some folks on the street figured out I was not a slice of American Cheese (really?! with mustard dangling from her neck?) but indeed a potato pocket. Plus I met several old timers, 40+ years in the neighborhood, who remembered not only Abe Lebewohl but also the remnants of Yiddish Theater in the area.
Funny thing: at the end of processional the “Knish Color Guard” reconvened in our starting place for a snack of knishes – part of the ritual of reinserting the pastry into the ‘hood —and suddenly passersby swarmed us. My favorite was a woman named Bina who made out some of the words on the Yiddish side of my sign.
We’ve received word that a five-foot tall knish will grace Second Avenue this Sunday at 4pm, leading a processional along the blocks that were once called “Knish Alley.” The event is part of the Conflux Festival happening throughout the East Village this weekend. The very creative press release states:
The walking, talking potato pocket will parade up and down the thoroughfare nicknamed Knish Alley in the heyday of Yiddish theater.
The knish processional kicks off at Abe Lebewohl Park, at the northwest corner of Second Avenue and 10th Street, and will stop at the Yiddish Art Theater (now Village East/City Cinemas) and the Yiddish Walk of Fame, which showcases the names of Yiddish actors in granite stars embedded in the sidewalk. The Yiddish Walk of Fame was installed in 1984 in front of the Second Avenue Deli by Abe Lebewohl, who opened the restaurant in 1954. Lebewohl was murdered in a 1996 robbery.