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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Postcard Thursday: Hester Street

Today's postcard is appropriate for the middle of Passover: a street scene on the Lower East Side, showing vendors and shoppers along Hester Street. The architecture of this block (just west of Essex Street) is very similar to what one sees today. The building at the far right still stands, and the large edifice three-quarters of the way down the block is an elementary school that continues to welcome students.

Notice the wood-frame house, third from the right; until 2007, that building (or perhaps a similarly built successor) housed Gertel's, the beloved kosher bakery. After Gertel's moved out, the building was torn down so that high-rise apartments could go up in its place.

Around the corner on Essex is one of the only remaining kosher pickle places in the neighborhood, the Pickle Guys (which you've probably visited if you've taken our Lower East Side walking tour). The gregarious owner, Alan Kaufman, was recently on The Dinner Party Download, a syndicated radio program from American Public Media, to talk about the joys--and hazards--of making gallons of horseradish for the holidays. You can take a listen here

The streets of the Lower East Side aren't this crowded anymore, though if you go on Saturdays to the Hester Street Fair, you can experience the urban, hipster version of what the people in this postcard were doing over a century ago.

* * * *
Read more about the Lower East Side in
Footprints in New York: Tracing the Lives of Four Centuries of New Yorkers


And, of course, Inside the Apple is available at fine bookstores everywhere.

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