History

The Bizarre ‘Mumming’ History of Thanksgiving Masking

Posted November 24, 2021 at 5:04 am

What follows is a reworking of a post originally published on Bowery Boogie in 2014. There was once a time when Thanksgiving customs more resembled Halloween masquerading than traditional turkey and history lessons. That’s right. So get out your masks, people! Thanksgivoween is upon us. Two key words: masking and mumming. To surmise thousands of […]

Filed Under

St. Marks Church in-the-Bowery Awarded Sacred Sites Grant of $35,000

Posted October 22, 2021 at 5:02 am

One of the oldest houses of worship in the city will receive some much needed financial aid for their ongoing restoration endeavours. The New York Landmarks Conservancy has awarded St. Marks Church in-the-Bowery $35,000 through their Sacred Sites grant, a designation that administers monies to historic religious properties throughout the state. The church on East […]

Filed Under

Streets

Walking Jack Kirby’s Lower East Side

Posted August 26, 2021 at 5:02 am

Saturday marks the 104th birthday of the late-great comic book illustrator Jack Kirby. To make the occasion, the museum charged with carrying on the Kirby legacy is hosting a walking tour of his Lower East Side youth. Kirby himself was born Jacob Kurtzberg in 1917 at 147 Essex Street. He remains a comic book legend […]

Filed Under

Streets

This Twitter Bot Maps Current NYC Locations of Long Gone Synagogues

Posted August 18, 2021 at 5:00 am

While the Lower East Side could be considered the geographic soul of American Judaism, there isn’t much to show for it these days. Nevertheless, much of those roots remain rather visible. Indeed, walking the neighborhood streets, it’s commonplace to see old synagogues repurposed in different ways. From multimillion-dollar condo conversions to upscale event halls. To […]

Filed Under

Wesley Williams, the First Black Firefighter in NYC, Chatting with Great Grandson [INTERVIEW]

Last modified June 11, 2021 at 5:15 pm

Now more than ever, the story of Wesley Williams must be told. As the first African American firefighter to join the Fire Department, Williams defied the odds again and became Chief in 1919. His detail was Engine 55, which is still active at 363 Broome Street in Little Italy (where Steve Buscemi volunteered). He later […]

Filed Under

Fear and Loathing Gentrification on the Bowery, Circa 1904

Posted May 20, 2021 at 5:09 am

His name was Chuck Connors, the unofficial “mayor” of Chinatown at the turn of last century. Connors lived on Doyers Street and was friends with Richard K. Fox, founding owner of the historic lifestyle magazine Police Gazette. He lived there rent-free due to a purported arrangement with the publication to which he provided a man-on-the-street […]

Filed Under

Streets

Pomp and Prayer: A Synagogue for the Stars and Sculptors on the Lower East Side

Posted February 12, 2021 at 5:03 am

Like so many other former Lower East Side synagogues, 58 Rivington Street is a misnomer, now private residence and studios. In contrast to its religious history. But this house of worship – known for much of its life as the First Warschauer Congregation – later became one for the stars. Celebrities of the neighborhood. Among […]

Filed Under

East Broadway Subway Station Turns 85

Posted January 15, 2021 at 5:00 am

The East Broadway subway station wasn’t always a shady dungeon attracting crime. Once upon a time, the transit stop inspired celebrations across the Lower East Side. It was exactly eighty-five years ago – January 1, 1936 – that the East Broadway subway station debuted to the public. The feat of subterranean engineering, then known as […]

Filed Under

Remembering the Forgotten Rooftop Sign of Monk Eastman’s Eldridge Street Tailor

Last modified December 10, 2020 at 9:16 am

Sitting atop an Eldridge Street tenement, weathered by time and atmosphere, is a rusty remnant of the past. It dates back nearly a century, yet remains part of the Lower East Side skyline. The advertecture once boasted sky-high lettering for Witty Brothers, the famous turn-of-the-century clothier who dressed Monk Eastman. The warehouse-looking building at 50-52 […]

Filed Under

When ‘Forward’ Lit the Way on East Broadway

Last modified December 2, 2020 at 11:08 am

There was a time when the lights burned bright above East Broadway. And we’re not talking about the sign for 169 Bar. Indeed, the iconic Jewish Daily Forward building at 175 East Broadway – designated a city landmark in 1983 – once boasted rooftop lighting that may have rivaled those of the Atlantic City boardwalk. […]

Filed Under