Archive for the ‘LES’ category

Dumpling Man. Food Fit for Famous Ankles

March 20, 2008

In the Lower East Side, just down St. Marks Place, sitting on the south side of the street; is a little slice of perfection:  Dumpling Man!

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If you read reviews of Dumpling Man, you’ll note they claim they make the dumplings right in front of you.  True, but not the truth.  They make scores, even hundreds, of dumplings in front of you; but when I was there they tossed my pre-made dumplings into the cooker while they were rolling and setting up the dough flats in preparation of making more hundreds of dumplings.

And mighty fine dumplings they are.  Mighty fine dumplings.

My advice (take it for what it’s worth); run to Dumpling Man and grab a mess o’ them.  But just use the soy sause and the chili sause that’s out for all to use.  I didn’t have much use for their extra charged “super hot” sause.  It wasn’t anywhere as good as the chili and soy combo I combined and scarfed down at the counter.

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I wimped out inside.  I asked if I could take a picture of the place and the woman making the dumplings said she didn’t want her picture taken.  I shoulda anyway.  She makes a fine dumpling and should be proud of it.

-H

La Plaza Cultural in Alphabet City

March 10, 2008

I was recently back in Alphabet City in the Lower East Side (AKA, the East Village), and ran into another of the small parks that have sprung up in the area.  These are associated with NYC’s Green Thumb program.  But just being a park ain’t enough to make me take a picture of it; instead, I need something a hair different in some way.

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And I think having strange and bizarre stuff on the top of the fence does qualify.

It’s La Plaza Cultural, located on East 9th Street and Avenue C.  Their website doesn’t seem to say a word about the fence, so maybe they don’t think it’s worthy of comment.

I think it is.

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I mean, just look at what’s there.

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The interior of La Plaza is bigger than most, but mostly unremarkable.

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Well, it is winter, but that’s still awfully sparse.

-H

McSorley’s Old Ale House

March 8, 2008

My recent jaunt in the Village was with the mind to find a legendary place.  Okay, it wasn’t all that legendary to me.  Some co-workers had mentioned it as the place to go for the St. Patricks Day Paraders and I hadn’t heard of it (at least to my recollection).

It’s McSorley’s Old Ale House, a bar located on East 7th Street near 3rd Avenue.  It has the slogan “We were here before you were born”.  True enough, it was founded in 1854.

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It strives to maintain its history, including sawdust covered floors and bragging rights that its patrons range from Abe Lincoln to John Lennon.

As it is strictly a bar and I am not a lover of beer, I didn’t bother going in.  It looks interesting for others, though.

-H

St. Mark’s Place

March 1, 2008

In other parts of the City, 8th Street is simply…8th Street.  But when you get to the Lower East Side it becomes St. Mark’s Place, named after the Episcopal Church located on 2nd Avenue (but actually up at 10th Street or so).  I’ve wandered St. Mark’s Place a few times, but nothing of any consequence…until I went to Alphabet City.  When I did that, I discovered that the street is about as funky and retro a place as you’ll find in NYC.  Actually, when I realized that the street is really only three blocks long, I kind of shook my head in shame knowing that I had only previously been on St. Mark’s between 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue.

Offhand, the street doesn’t look particularly special in any way.

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But the crowd is very youthful and the stores are very…interesting.  Below is the St. Mark’s Theater sign.  I don’t think they spent a fortune on it.

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Others show a more artistic and funky flair.

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I wonder if there’s any particular reason that two of the most visually interesting places are both located below street level?  One of the great mysteries…

I did like this little vegetarian restaurant (at least visually as I didn’t try it).  It seems to be a bit small to be called “Whole Earth Vegetarian Kitchen.”  And it’s second name?  “Whole Earth Bakery and Kitchen”.  Having two relatively long names for the little place, plus the great slogan of “Simple food for complex times” is a hoot.

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-H

Yiddish Theater Walk of Fame on 2nd Avenue

February 20, 2008

The Lower East Side was heavily Jewish and German for a long time in the 1800s-1900s.  The people there created their own theater where they spoke and performed in Yiddish.  I don’t know how many theaters there were, but apparently enough to sustain a number of performers throughout their professional lives.

I was on a tour of the LES when, just walking along a part of 2nd Avenue I’ve been on a dozen or more times and the guide pointed out that we were at the Yiddish Theater Walk of Fame.  It’s on the corner of 10th Street right at the Chase Bank.  Apparently it was the site of the famed 2nd Avenue Deli.  Notice the plaques on the ground.

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I did some searching on names and couldn’t find a listing of the “famed”.  So, I’ve decided to put them here for a little bit of posterity.  There’s only one performer that I’ve remember having heard of, but all are of importance in NYC theater history.  I’ve done my best to find appropriate links for the names.  When I wasn’t sure, I made a note of it, but I think they’re pretty solid.  Whether the links will change/vanish over time is a different question.

First, Fyvush Finkel is the only one of a few who has a “solo” star.  His is also one of the most readable.

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Next is the way the rest of them are:  two names sharing a star.  Here’s Jennie Goldstein and Ida Kaminska (she was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar).  I’m going to do these as thumbnails because of the volume.  Click on the picture to see the actual star.

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Then Lillian Lux and Pesack Burstein (a wife and husband team, respectively).

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The next star is for Joseph Buloff and Luba Kadison.

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The next star is for Abraham Goldfaden and Michal Michalesko:

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The next star is for Miriam Kressyn and Seymour Rexite (alternative spelling of Seymour Rechzeit):

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Abraham Goldfaden gets a second star, this time for being the founder of the Yiddish Theater in 1876.

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The next star is for “Alt Raymond” and Barry Sisters.  I’m not sure about the spelling of the first name.

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The next star is for Jack Rechtzeit and Mike Burstyn (I couldn’t find anything on Rechtzeit, but Burstyn has his own website).  Of course, it’s possible that “Jack Rechtzeit” and “Seymour Rechtzeit” (cited above) are the same person:

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The next star is for Max Bozyk and Rose Bozyk:

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The next star is for Boris Thomashevsky and Bessie Thomashevsky:

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The next is for Ed Fuchs and Rebecca Richman (I can’t find anything I’m certain is a link for either of them but I suspect this is Rebecca and I wonder about a link I can find for Leo Fuchs and Rebecca Richman and who might “Ed” be if not “Leo”):

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The next star is for Shulon Seckoa (possibly Sholum Secunda) and Peretz Sandler:

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This next one was completely unreadable by me:

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The next is for Molly Picon and Jacob Kalich (Jacob was Molly’s husband, but that’s all I know):

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The next star is for Leon Liebgold and Lilly Lilyana (Leon was a Holocaust survivor):

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The next star is for Mary Sureanu (thanks to reader Elise, the spelling is now corrected) Mary Soreanu and Lucy Levine:

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The next star is for Irving Jacobson and an “unknown” Jacobson:

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The next star is for Ben Bonas/Ben Donus and Mina Bern (it looks like Ben Bonas was Mina’s husband, but that’s a guess as I can find a “Bonas” link to Mina, but it looks like “Donus” on the star but there was a “Ben Bonus” that is also linked to Bern – this was a man of how many names?!):

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The next star is for Ludwig Satz and Moishe Oysher:

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The next star is for David Kessler and Zvi Scooler (also spelled Zvee Scooler, at least so it seems):

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The next star is for Herman Yablokoff and Bella Meisel:

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I’m sad to say that I cannot read the next star:

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The next star is for Alexander Olshanetsky and Abe Ellstein:

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The next star is for Mischa Gehrman and Lucy Gehrman:

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The next star is for Joseph Rumshinsky and Arnold Perlmutter:

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The next star is for Jacob Jacobs and Betty Jacobs:

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The next star is for Maurice Schwartz and an unreadable person’s name:

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The next star is for Henrietta Jacobson and Julius Adler  (wife and husband, respectively.  Their son is Bruce Adler who was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor two years in a row):

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The next star was unreadable:

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And the one after that was unreadable:

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The final star on the Yiddish Theater Walk of Fame is another single-person-on-a-star, Daniel Libeskind, the architect, with the interesting suffix “Friend of Folksbiene” which was the/a theater:

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-H