L.E.S. Heritage Film Series to Present Unpublished Rebecca Lepkoff Photos

The Seward Park Branch Library has announced the first program of its 2013/2014 Lower East Side Heritage Film Series, Rebecca Lepkoff: In photographs and conversation, on Tuesday, October 15th. 

Clayton Patterson & Friends Celebrate Release of LES Jewish History Project

Clayton Patterson with co-editors and contributors at the launch of “Jews: A People’s History of the Lower East Side.”

Last week, a group of people with a passion for the Lower East Side came to one of the neighborhood’s most magnificent spaces, the Angel Orensanz Center, for a celebration.  The occasion was the official unveiling of Clayton Patterson’s sweeping three-volume project chronicling Jewish life on the LES.

“Jews: A People’s History of the Lower East Side,” was edited by Patterson, the neighborhood documentarian, and sociologist Mareleyn Schneider.  It consists of more than 1500 pages and 150 chapters, covering such varied topics as Jewish boxing, Allen Ginsberg, the destruction of LES synagogues and the 2nd Avenue deli. The books were published with the help of a Kickstarter campaign.

Election Night Back When: The Forward Building’s Role

The Forward Building. Alan Hochman, Collection of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.

Editor’s note: Just as New Yorkers try to shake off the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy, the city shifts its attention to today’s presidential election.  While most of us will be glued to the television or to our handheld digital device tonight, waiting to see whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney will be our next president, it’s worth recalling the way Election Day used to play out on the Lower East Side.  Writer and filmmaker Laurie Gwen Shapiro takes us back to the year 1912:

At the start of October, my lifelong political junkie father and I were anxiously weighing Obama’s chances en route to Café Petisco on East Broadway. I was keeping pace alongside his moving electric scooter when Dad curiously slowed to a halt in front of The Forward Building, former headquarters of the once powerful Yiddish newspaper, and more recently the site of luxurious condos owned by the likes of Tatum O’Neal.

“I bet you didn’t know how the Lower East Side got our election results before TV? Before the internet? On the Forwartz building. They projected the results on the side of the building. On a giant white screen. You can’t believe what a big deal it was.”

I am a New York City history junkie, and pressed Dad for details, right in the middle of the street.

“Ah, I don’t know anything. Let’s eat lunch, I’m not a historian.”

Another Look: Garden Cafeteria Revisited

April 2005, Garden Cafeteria sign briefly revealed.

Sometimes it’s surprising what can be unearthed in an old shoe box or in the deep recesses of your computer hard drive. A reader of The Lo-Down sent along this photo she snapped in 2005 on the corner of East Broadway and Rutgers streets, at the very moment a treasured Lower East Side relic was briefly rediscovered before being removed for good.

You probably recognize the facade; today the Wing Shoon Chinese restaurant is located here. But from 1941-1983, the ground floor of 165 East Broadway was the legendary Garden Cafeteria. It was a center of Jewish intellectual life on the Lower East Side — and a gathering place for poets and writers such as Elie Wiesel and Isaac Bashevis Singer.

Tenement Talks – Lower East Side Stories

Image_view"Tenement Talks", hosted by H.R. Britton this evening, includes four professional storytellers
who will recount their experiences as urban children or tell us how they raised
their own kids in the big city. Performers include Robin Bady, Jane LeCroy, DJ Hazard, and Tracy Rowland. Audience members are invited to
share their own three-minute tales." The talk starts at 6:30p at the Tenement Museum (108 Orchard). FREE