Savoring Gotham by Smith Andrew F. & Oliver Garrett

Savoring Gotham by Smith Andrew F. & Oliver Garrett

Author:Smith, Andrew F. & Oliver, Garrett
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780199397020
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Published: 2015-10-13T16:00:00+00:00

Cindy R. Lobel

Loubat, Alphonse

See wine and wine-making.

Lower East Side

The Lower East Side is a neighborhood in Manhattan that runs from Houston Street to Canal Street, from the Bowery to the East River. Historically, the Lower East Side stretched up to Fourteenth Street, but the section of the neighborhood that covers Alphabet City has become known, since the 1960s, as the East Village. Famous for its immigrant past, the neighborhood has more recently undergone gentrification. Young hipsters, professionals, and families are attracted to the upscale apartments and businesses of the area. Today’s Lower East Side has a lively food scene with some notable restaurants and food shops that reflect both its past and its present.

Farmland during the colonial period and middle-class residential area in the early nineteenth century, the Lower East Side saw construction of blocks of tenement buildings during the great wave of immigration to New York that began in the 1830s. During the mid-nineteenth century, much of the area that is today’s Lower East Side was the German immigrant neighborhood Kleindeutschland. German restaurants, bakeries, groceries, saloons, and beer gardens proliferated. See kleindeutschland.

In the late nineteenth century, with the great wave of Jewish immigration to the United States and New York in particular (80 percent of the Jews who immigrated through Ellis Island settled in New York City, most on the Lower East Side), the neighborhood—especially east of the Bowery—became associated specifically with Jews. Hundreds of thousands of Jews poured into the district, its population 550,000 at its height—one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the world. Streets were crowded with people, including peddlers pushing carts and selling all manner of goods. Hester Street was a major shopping street, nicknamed in Yiddish the chazzer mark, or “pig market,” even though pork was about the only thing these Jewish shops and carts did not offer. Surrounding streets like Orchard, Essex, and Grand also were lined with shops and blocked with pushcarts selling dry goods as well as live poultry, kosher meats, produce, herring and other fresh and preserved fish, baked goods, and pickles. The area around Essex Street became known as the pickle district; eighty businesses brined, packed, and sold pickles to local residents and markets around the country. See jewish and pickles.

Other Jewish food businesses on the Lower East Side included matzah factories, kosher wineries, and bakeries. See matzah and bakeries. Russian and Romanian restaurants lined the streets along with Jewish cafes and teashops that drew such radicals and intellectuals as Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman. Jewish delicatessens also opened, a kosher adaptation of the German Gentile shops that had sold cured meats, frankfurters, and prepared foods to New Yorkers since the 1850s. Appetizing stores—the dairy counterpart to the deli (kosher laws forbid mixing meat and dairy in the same meal)—sold smoked fish, cream cheese, blintzes, and other dairy and parve (neither meat nor dairy) delicacies. While the Lower East Side once housed dozens of these establishments, today only two remain—Katz’s Deli (kosher style but not kosher) and Russ & Daughters Appetizing Store.


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