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Lower East Side

Live-In Theater has come up with another interactive, participatory theater experience that is a dramatization based on real past events, in this case, the 1915 apprehension of 45-year-old Mary Mallon, called “Typhoid Mary” by the news media of the time. Reportedly, Mallon infected 51 people with Typhoid Fever, three of them died.

Alas, the one future performance of The Trial Of Typhoid Mary (Dec. 10th) on the online calendar of the Live-In Theater website is presently sold out, and no performances are (so far) scheduled for 2018.  However, your hope of seeing it may not be entirely lost. A stage manager told me that they do this production in “a lot of high schools” as well as “for private groups”. It has been around for a few years, and they performed it at The New York Historical Society in 2016.

Live-In Theater’s promotional materials for the show, “The Trial of Typhoid Mary” say, “Come give Typhoid Mary the trial she never received”. Ticketholders assemble (in this case, in the downstairs room of a Lower East Side bar), and a costumed re-enactor in solemn black who declared himself the judge set the scene, and chose various members of the audience to act the parts of jurors, bailiffs, and, at the performance I attended, a courtroom sketch artist. Another costumed re-enactor handed out golf pencils and notepads, and doubled as a “barker”. Though from the Colonial era to the mid-19th century, it was not unheard of for courts to be informally convened in taverns, (at least in Staten Island) by the end of the 19th century to the early 20th century (the time of Mary Mallon’s arrest for being a public health hazard), court proceedings had acquired a lot more formality and government control, not to mention proper courthouses. However, treatment of suspects under the premises of “innocent until proven guilty” had not advanced as much as it has now. I think the majority of the twenty- and thirty- something audience were properly horrified that Mallon had been arrested without a warrant, and some who questioned the actress who played Mallon on the stand clearly disapproved of the fact that she had not been read her rights (enforcement of this became a 1960s innovation), and had previously been summarily imprisoned on North Brother Island. Motivated perhaps by the role-playing of certain of the re-enactors, the suffragette who claimed to have been Mallon’s previous employer, who stressed that Mallon did not willfully infect others, and the one who played Mallon, who claimed to have nursed the family who got typhoid back to health, doing the more onerous duties, including washing soiled bedsheets, unlike in real life, they returned a verdict of innocent, though Mallon’s understanding of sanitary practices was to clean away all visible dirt, and she didn’t seem too concerned about whether she washed her hands “after she had been to the privy” if they were “not dirty”. All participants in this exercise had entered a time when “The Germ Theory of Disease” was as hotly debated and widely doubted as the phenomena of Global Warming is now, and with pretty much the same class divide between adherents.…

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Sunday, December 3 at 7:00 PM8:00 PM EST

Quimby’s Bookstore NYC

536 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, New York 11211

Details

The Woman Rebel: Revolutionary Politics, Rollicking Parties and the Women who Shook New York.

Imagine you are at a party with the anarchist Emma Goldman, the dancer Isadora Duncan and the women’s health pioneer Margaret Sanger. Two things are probably true: you are at Mabel Dodge’s celebrated Wednesday Night Salon, and Marcel Duchamp is swinging from the chandelier.

When Dodge began her salon in 1912, she claimed, “every thinking person nowadays is in revolt against something.” At the time, Radical Politics thrived on the Lower East Side, Modern Art was radiating out of Greenwich Village, social and sexual mores were in flux south of 14th street, and women were at the vanguard of the Revolution.

This talk will explore what made downtown so ripe for rebellion, and honor the radical women who called the area home. Along the way, we’ll meet the Rebel Girl and the Priestess of Anarchy, check out the saloon known as the “most famous radical center in New York,” and discover which nightclub has been “an idyllic place of controversy and entertainment” for over a century.

Kick up your heals and join us!

Bio

Lucie Levine is the founder of Archive on Parade, a local tour and event company that takes New York’s fascinating history out of the archives and into the streets. She’s a Native New Yorker, and licensed New York City tour guide, with a passion for the city’s fascinating social, political and cultural history. She’s worked with institutions including the 92nd Street Y, The New York Public Library, the St. Regis Hotel, Fraunces Tavern, The Brooklyn Brainery and The Society for the Advancement of Social Studies to offer exciting tours, lectures and events all over town. She is also the News Editor for Greenpointers, and her work and events have been featured on Greenpointers, Untapped Cities, 6sqft, Brokelyn and The Skint.

$10.00 suggested donation

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A few blocks uptown, head to the Lower East Side on October 22 for a look at the Jewish gangsters who once trafficked in the area, including Arnold Rothstein, Meir Lansky and Bugsy Siegel. To the west, New Yorkers can discover the West Village on a walking tour exploring the area’s history, ecology, and architecture on October 17.…

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Thu 10 2017 , by

Bygone Buttered Rolls?

On the face of it, it doesn’t seem like the common coffee-accompanying buttered roll has become bygone from NYC and the surrounding areas of NJ and Connecticut in any measurable way. However, in many cases they aren’t what they used to be, and finding them made properly (with a fresh, handmade Kaiser roll and real salted butter) is becoming a lot more iffy. While buttered rolls can still be bought as such in many small shops, diners, and sidewalk coffee carts throughout the city, the general consensus is that since bygone days (mid-20th century) in the majority of cases the quality of the rolls has gone down due to modern developments such as the disappearance of smaller, regional/local bakeries, leading to the mass production and the lack of freshness and quality of the hard rolls, and lack of knowledge of how they are “supposed” to be has led to rolls without the requisite crispy crust or poppy seeds on top. Then there is the butter, or lack thereof: the more frequent use of margarine of varying taste and mouthfeel by those who sell them, topped off by vendors wrapping them in plastic wrap in deference to modern sanitary sensibilities but giving the rolls the savor of the plastic. The comments section from this NY Times article about the phenomena of buttered Kaiser rolls or “butter rolls” as they are called in popular parlance is revealing: besides having arrived in NYC via “The Vienna Model Bakery” in 1870, which also brought commercial yeasted bread to the city, they derived from German/Austrian Jewish cuisine: one commentator reveals that her father called them “jew rolls” when at home, but not to appear anti-Semitic, ordered “hard rolls” from the local bakery. (In many cases, a local bakery was involved in the production of good old fashioned rolls with butter as they ought to have been-it is the scarcity of general purpose local bakeries that has been partly responsible for the taste and quality of buttered rolls becoming more frequently bygone.) How are the bastardized versions that have become widely available in our time still selling? For the same reason the original and better-tasting ones did: they might be the only thing some people can afford to eat all day. They are cheap and filling, though of dubious nutritional value. —

Ode to the Buttered Roll, That New York Lifeline

It can be hard to explain the appeal of a buttered roll.

Unlike the breakfast sandwich or the cruller, the humble buttered roll makes no claims to lusciousness. It’s not really greater than the sum of its parts: a round roll, sliced and slathered with butter. There is no alchemy involved.

And yet, like many New Yorkers, I’ve breakfasted all my life on buttered rolls, wrapped in plastic, foil or wax paper and sold for about a dollar at any corner deli, bodega or coffee cart.

Do I love them? No. That is not really the point. I love that they exist, an unsung, charmingly ordinary hero of the city’s mornings.…

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Battle of Prohibition Cocktails. NYC Top Cocktail Mixologists Face Off! Join the Party!

We’re taking over an entire lower east side hot spot Casa Mezcal for this party.

Location

86 Orchard St

Caza Mezcal

New York, NY 10002

View Map

Bring your best 1920s look! Dressing up is encouraged.

Last call to celebrate Summer and it’s your last chance to get in on the most epic summer event in New York City. For one last hurray to summer, we’re highlighting a must see event: a Speakeasy style bartender battle thrown by Postcard, your way to uncover NYC in a new way. It’s New York’s sizzling app that shows you all the hottest venues and events around you, live…

PLEASE NOTE: While it is a free event, and you don’t need to buy any tickets (you do need to rsvp), we are currently closing in on the exciting new version of Postcard app and would value your feedback.

Please note that you do need to have Free Postcard app installed to join in this event. This will be main part of your admission ticket, you will show postcard app on your phone. (you can install the app for free at itunes)

Here are the 2 steps you will need to do before the event:

For Iphone: Install postcard app (it’s free, get it here). Now just RSVP on Eventbrite, and you are ready for the party!

For Android: If you don’t have iphone, bring a friend (who needs to follow step 1) who does and you both get in! (make sure to rsvp either you or your friend)

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Which mixologist will make the better Prohibition cocktail?

Try them both and be the judge.

The Postcard app has been a leading source of all the best nightlife spots since their launch this July, and they’re sending off summer in style. Already the app has been used by top influencers, instagrammers, and even celebrities in NYC. If you haven’t tried it yet, you definitely should.

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“My friends and I like to go where the people are and the app always shows us exactly where to go to have the best night out”

– Tamara Zhukova, NYC Fashion Model (in the photo above)

The Prohibition era was full of fun and revelry, the roaring twenties, flapper girls, post war partying, and of course, secret drinking at speakeasies aka “juice joints”. So it’s not surprising that today’s cocktails get their heaviest influence from this era, and liquors like gin, rye, and scotch have made a comeback in a big way.

This event’s two featured liquors, gin and scotch, have a special Prohibition history behind them.

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Both were touted as industrial alcohols. Bootleggers with chemists on staff would strip away the denaturant (the dangerous stuff) in industrial high school lab ethanol, add colors and spices, and label it as premium European scotch or gin. Lucky for us, at this event we get to enjoy the real deal with all the fun, wild, and creative flavors that made these cocktails great!…

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From Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York blog:

Monday, July 31, 2017

Before We Got Starfucked

Jen Fisher runs a well-loved book table on the sidewalk at St. Mark’s and Avenue A. Tomorrow, the table will become a memorial exhibit called “Before we got Starfucked: A Memorial for the Lower East Side before it became the East Village.”

Jen and the resident artist Ana Marton describe it as:

“A personal archive of a LES resident from the late 80s to early 90s of photographs, newspaper cuts, flyers and B&W Xerox books will be displayed on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017 from 530-8PM outside, on the corner of Ave A and St. Mark’s Place, where the bookstall usually is.

The archive is based on 80s and 90s events such as The Tent City in Tompkins Square Park, the annual Stations of the Cross, Father George Kuhn, and the fight against gentrification as it was recorded and put together by a resident of the Lower East Side. Seen in the light of today’s ongoing destruction of our neighborhood, we believe that this archive has acquired historical relevance as a record of the Lower East Side and the life it once contained.”

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From Bowery Boogie:

Breaking: ‘Cup & Saucer’ Ending Service on Monday After Decades on Canal Street

Posted on: July 12th, 2017 at 12:39 pm by

Say goodbye to that classic 1940s Coca-Cola sign at the corner of Eldridge and Canal Streets. Word on the block is that the fabled luncheonette, Cup & Saucer, is hanging it up. It’s closing shop after decades serving the neighborhood, thanks to a steep rent hike.

And there’s no time for you to process this information, either, as the last day of business is Monday.

Every few years, rumors surface detailing a demise that was continuously eluded. Especially after the building reportedly sold several years ago, creating much uncertainty whether the business would actually survive. Co-owner John Vasilopoulos told Metro in 2015 that he hoped the new owner would maintain the 5-year lease arrangement of the predecessor to keep afloat. Then there was the recent upstairs fire back in January, which no doubt threatened the operation. This time, however, it appears the talk is true. A tipster who frequents the establishment daily was informed by staff of the closure. Apparently, they started telling all the regular customers today.

We don’t really know what to say. The Cup & Saucer is a no-frills Lower East Side treasure that serves all strata of the community. “Giving the people of New York quality food, fast delivery, and great customer service,” as its website prominently touts. On any given morning, you find construction workers, commuters, travelers, and locals mingling at the countertop.

It’s been under the same ownership for nearly thirty years. Partners Nick Castanos (also a cook) and John Vasilopoulos took over the business in 1988, yet local lore suggests the corner kitchen dates back some 77 years. The duo also owns a diner in Ridgewood, Queens.

Our tipster surmises that the luncheonette also fell victim to the effects of failed development (i.e. the Canal Tower) and the encroaching Chinatown Bus situation that’s multiplying along Canal Street between Forsyth and Allen.


Visual Documentation of the distinguishing interior features of the now-bygone The Cup & Saucer Luncheonette (from Untapped Cities.com)

Iconic NYC Diner “The Cup & Saucer” Closing Down After Nearly 70 Years

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Movie Series Dealing With Life in Brooklyn at the Metrograph

Making Rent in Bed-Stuy

June 9 to June 12

On the occasion of the release of Brandon Harris’s first book, Making Rent in Bed-Stuy: A Memoir of Trying to Make it in New York City, called “a rebuke, in a form newly discovered, to the people James Baldwin once called ‘our morally dishonest and desperately dishonest countrymen,” by N+1 founder Keith Gessen, Metrograph is pleased to present six films that speak to the neighborhood and surrounding area’s rich cultural and political legacy as a black space, the lives of some of its most famous scions and as a bulwark, increasingly imperiled, for Brooklyn’s black population.

Brandon Harris to introduce Crooklyn on June 9. Following the screening, Harris will be signing copies of his book, Making Rent in Bed-Stuy.

A Q&A with Sebastián Silva and Brandon Harris to follow the screening of Nasty Baby.

Program notes by Brandon Harris

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I saw this story posted on facebook, with a number of cynical comments gathering underneath about how it wouldn’t be long before the fire would be used as a rationale to demolish the building, and put an unaffordable condo complex in its place.

Bowery Boogie reports the following concerning the situation:

“The Lower East Side is covered in smoke right now. Several readers are telling us that the historic synagogue on Norfolk Street – Beth Hamedrash Hagadol – is currently up in flames. The FDNY labeled it a 3-alarm fire. One eyewitness riding his bike along Delancey told us that he heard a “big explosion” followed quickly by the plume. We have yet to confirm this detail.

A smaller fire reportedly broke out in the building on May 7, but was extinguished.

UPDATE: the 3-alarm fire is under control as of 7:50pm. Thankfully, there were no injuries reported in the incident.

More as it develops. Drop us a line if you know what’s happening.”

The fears of it being destroyed are not groundless: Bowery Boogie had previously reported:

“Beth Hamedrash Hagadol congregation in 1885 for $45,000 (about $1.2 million today). The New York City Landmarks Commission found that “Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Synagogue has a special character, special historical and aesthetic interest, and value as part of the development, heritage and cultural characteristics of New York City.”

This historic, religious edifice has been making headlines for some time now, mostly with regard to its preservation. The upkeep became too expensive for congregants. Moreover, even though it’s been protected since 1967, Rabbi Mendel Greenbaum had, at one point, petitioned the LPC to de-landmark the structure so that condominiums could be built instead. As a trade, a small synagogue would be built on the ground floor for the floundering congregation.”

If the worst happens, these photos below might be the only way people have to see this beautiful house of worship.

From Bowery Boogie:

Inside the Decaying Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Synagogue on Norfolk Street [PHOTOS]

Posted on: February 20th, 2014 at 11:06 am by

Sanctuary of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol in ruins, Photo: Landmarks Conservancy

Sanctuary of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol in ruins, Photo: Landmarks Conservancy

“SAVE the FIRST Eastern European [Russian] Synagogue in the Americas,” reads the inactive Facebook page dedicated to Beth Hamedrash Hagadol.

The historic Gothic Revival synagogue was built in 1850 as a Baptist church and purchased by the Beth Hamedrash Hagadol congregation in 1885 for $45,000 (about $1.2 million today). The New York City Landmarks Commission found that “Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Synagogue has a special character, special historical and aesthetic interest, and value as part of the development, heritage and cultural characteristics of New York City.”

This historic, religious edifice has been making headlines for some time now, mostly with regard to its preservation. The upkeep became too expensive for congregants. Moreover, even though it’s been protected since 1967, Rabbi Mendel Greenbaum had, at one point, petitioned the LPC to de-landmark the structure so that condominiums could be built instead. As a trade, a small synagogue would be built on the ground floor for the floundering congregation.

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