Earlier today, Yenta Laureate noticed interior demolition at Silver Monuments, which was the last gravestone business on the Lower East Side before closing down in 2015. Owner Murray Silver decided to consolidate the business in Woodside, Queens.
The store, at 125 Stanton St., was in the heart of New York’s monument district. “In many ways,” noted the New York Times in 2006, Silver Monuments is a fitting memorial to the Lower East Side’s legendary past as a bustling Jewish enclave.” A few lines from that story:
Situated in a five-story walk-up, the store is owned and run by Murray R. Silver, 65, who lives in an apartment above the business, which absorbed three other gravestone dealers, Forsyth, Weinreb & Gross. Inside, the selection ranging from standard marble “toaster” shapes with the Star of David in relief (customary for men, while women usually get Shabbat candles) to massive granite Torahs rests on squares of tattered artificial green grass to capture the feel of a real cemetery. The oldest gravestone sample, hand carved by Mr. Silver’s late father, Samuel Silver, depicts a broken tree and a flying dove. “You are now in the house of satisfied customers,” a sign proclaims. Mr. Silver inherited the business from his parents. His father died 20 years ago and now rests in a cemetery on Long Island under a modest family marker engraved “Silver.” His mother, Minnie, who is 95, became the first woman on the Lower East Side to run a monument store’s showroom. She would leave work early so she could put out milk and cake for her children arriving home from school.
The storefront has remained vacant during the last couple of years. Misrahi Realty has been advertising the space for $8,000 month. There’s 1200 square feet on the ground floor. The Silver family has owned the building for decades.