More on the Departure of Streit’s Matzo from the Lower East Side

Posted on: January 7th, 2015 at 9:22 am by
This image has been archived or removed.

To be honest, we’re still in shock about the bombshell news yesterday that Streit’s Matzo is departing the Lower East Side come springtime. We’re told that running the tenement factory is no longer economically feasible in the current location (i.e. archane equipment not easily serviceable, the changing business) and that it’s now under contract to an unknown developer. It’s rather likely that all four buildings will fall and be replaced with luxury.

Apparently the sale had less to do with the pressures of “gentrification.” Per the New York Times follow-up:

The pressure of gentrification, Mr. Adler said, is not the reason the factory is closing, since the family has resisted offers to sell for years. Rather, he said, “the reality is that operating a modern factory in four old buildings has finally caught up with us.”

The two 75-foot ovens, which produce 900 pounds of matzo per hour, are slowing down with age and “we can’t find anyone to repair them.” The factory has no loading dock, and delivery trucks cannot find parking. Mr. Adler, one of three descendants who run the factory day to day, interrupted an interview so he could feed a parking meter.

This image has been archived or removed.

Photo: NYPL

And here’s another tidbit from Crain’s:

But times have changed. The factory once had a tremendous retail presence, with lines of shoppers snaking around the block. These days, however, the vast bulk of the output is wholesaled to grocers, so the factory has lost its secondary role as a shop, according to Mr. Adler [co-owner and the great-grandson of Aron Streit].

After a deal fell through in 2008 to sell the building for $25 million, the facility was finally sold to a real estate developer whose identity and plans for the site have not been revealed.

The facility’s 30 workers will be offered positions in the New Jersey plant, but details of employee relocation have yet to be solidified.

This image has been archived or removed.

Photo: NYPL

It’s a bitter pill to swallow. Yes, the matzo factory had fielded substantial offers within the last decade to cash out, but we never thought it would actually happen. Like many around here, we remained cautiously optimistic that this commercial anchor would remain part of the neighborhood fabric despite the real estate pressures.

We’re certainly gonna miss peeking through the ground-level windows to watch workers grab and pack matzo from the conveyors; we’ll miss that delectable scent of baked flour every afternoon; we’ll miss seeing the workers joke around with each other; we’ll miss the curbside dumpsters packed with matzo; we’ll miss the last substantial Jewish connection to the Lower East Side.

This image has been archived or removed.

Photo: NYPL

Recent Stories

Gaia Cafe Planning February Return with New Essex Street Locale

Gaia Italian Cafe, a locals favorite, is gearing up for a return. An early pandemic victim, Gaia shuttered its sub-level operations in the summer of 2020 after nearly a decade on East Houston. Then word came through last July that namesake chef-owner Gaia Bagnasacco signed a lease for the ground floor of 119 Essex Street, […]

‘Be My Baby’ and a Strange 1965 Visit to Parisi Bakery (Ronnie Spector RIP)

Ronnie Spector, the chanteuse who fronted the Ronettes in the 1960s with her signature vocal yearning, died yesterday. She was 78. She passed after “a brief battle with cancer,” according to a statement from her family. In tribute to her life and music, we’re re-publishing the following piece from a few years ago highlighting the […]

The Decimated State of East River Park

It’s full throttle with East River Park demolition. Nothing now stands in the way of the $1.45 billion coastal resiliency project. Tree stumps dot the park from East Houston to Corlears Hook, onetime green space which now resembles the blackened wasteland of a post-apocalyptic novel. In all, some 990 trees are being sawed into submission. […]

How to Help Essex Card Shop Rebuild After Devastating Fire on Avenue A

Monday afternoon, a two-alarm fire ripped through 47 Avenue A, destroying the long-running Essex Card Shop. While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, Saba Aslam, daughter of the shop owner, launched a GoFundMe campaign to help rebuild the business. “Every single corner of this store is burned, damaged, and destroyed,” the appeal proclaims. […]

7-Eleven Delancey Street Kaput After 9 Years

And just like that… There are no longer any 7-Eleven locations on the Lower East Side. The convenience store franchise at 142 Delancey Street – situated in the base of the former Loew’s movie theater – is now dark. Signage is deposed and plywood in place. Permanently closed after nine years in business. The Seward […]