Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bowery loses another staple: King Glassware closes

King Glassware restaurant supply company closed after 81 years.
Dating back to 1933, King Glassware may have been the oldest surviving restaurant supply store on The Bowery. Just last week, neighborhood archivist Adam Woodward came across this 81 year old mainstay at 112 Bowery shuttered with "FOR RENT" signs hanging on the gates.

King's phone number is disconnected and its website down, leading us to believe the decades-old business is gone for good and not simply relocating.

Surviving two world wars, the Great Depression, recessions in the 1980s and 2000s, as well as an abundance of competition from the dozens of restaurant supply stores along the thoroughfare is no small feat. Back in 1995, co-owner Fred LaMay told the New York Times about competition from the rise of similar stores opening on The Bowery, and the pressure to sell out.

"There are 30 percent more restaurant suppliers than there were 10 or 15 years ago," LaMay said.

At a time when shop owners were enticed to sell their buildings at 30% or more above market rate, LaMay turned down all offers.

"We tell them we're not interested," he said. "We'll sell when we retire."

We've reached out to the building owners for an interview but have yet to hear back. If we get any more information in the future we'll update this article.

Friday, November 8, 2013

LESHP and PS 126/Manhattan Academy of Technology partnership

Lower East Side History Project is proud to announce an exciting new partnership with Public School 126/Manhattan Academy of Technology, located at 80 Catherine Street in Lower Manhattan.

The pilot project, launched in September of 2013, attempts to bring history to life through hands-on experiences and researched based learning. The goal is to get students excited about the extensive, influential, multicultural history in their own back yard and inspire future community involvement.

Eric Ferrara addresses the class.
Over the next several months, students will be reading, writing, discussing and learning about how the Lower East Side has evolved over the centuries, highlighting the contributions of various ethnic groups and cultures that called the district home.

Special programming includes walking tours of the neighborhood, in-class guest lecturers and interactive experiences intended to nurture a first hand understanding of our neighborhood's rich history.

Alfonso Guerriero
The school-year long program will culminate in May, 2014 with a gallery exhibition showcasing what the students have learned through a series of photographs and art installations created throughout the year. 

The program was written by 8th grade history educators, Alfonso Guerriero and Christopher Piccigallo in collaboration with Lower East Side History Project. Both Mr. Guerriero and Mr. Piccigallo were born within blocks of PS 126, which makes this project extra special for the veteran teachers.

Christopher Piccigallo
"We are so excited about creating a partnership with LESHP and through their support, start our pilot program that teaches 8th grade American history through the school's Lower East Side community," says Alfonso Guerriero. "The young historians of PS 126/Manhattan Academy of Technology are deeply invested in exploring and understanding the history of our community."   

LESHP director Eric Ferrara suggests, "This is an awesome opportunity to get kids interested in not only history but other cultures these students may encounter on a daily basis. They get to learn about our shared and individual histories which I believe helps create stronger community relationships and inspires involvement in future preservation efforts."

Guest speaker Adam Woodward
shows the class a Revolutionary War
era relic he uncovered locally.
"I'm really impressed by the curiosity shown by the students and the passion that Al and Chris bring to the table," Ferrara said. "These guys worked tirelessly over the summer to ensure that this program is historically accurate and inclusive enough to reach each child in the classroom, regardless of their individual backgrounds."

This unique program has already gained an overwhelming amount of support from parents, educators and administrators, as well as the students themselves. For many, this is the first time that they are fully exposed to the history of their own ancestry, let alone the neighborhood they live in.

LESHP is very excited about this project and we look forward to a successful school year.

To learn more about Lower East Side History Project, visit For more information about PS 126, visit

A project that 8th grade students of PS 126 are working on, depicting Native American life in Lower Manhattan.

Another look at the Native American project.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Exclusive: Inside 50-52 Bowery


Inside the former Atlantic Gardens beer hall at 50-52 Bowery.

The structure, which is currently slated for demolition, sits on what is believed to be the footprint of a historic tavern and livestock market dating back to the 18th century.

Acting on a hunch, preservationist Adam Woodward toured the site and discovered a cellar which very well could be the foundation of the Revolutionary War era Bull's Head Tavern.

If so, this will be one of the most important archaeological discoveries on Manhattan Island in recent history.



Video: The roots of Hollywood on NYC's Lower East Side

This original LESHP documentary explores the important role that many Lower East Siders played during the early days of the motion picture industry.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Video: Alphabet City in the 1980s

Footage of the Lower East Side in 1986 from the documentary, "There's No Place Like Home: Housing Crisis, USA." Produced by Fiona Boneham and Pamela Hoelscher/Deep Dish TV.

See the full movie here:

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Eric Ferrara featured in new book, "ITALIANS: Un Tricolore a Stelle e Strisce"

LESHP director Eric Ferrara is featured in a new book called, ITALIANS: Un Tricolore a Stelle e Strisce

Authors Giovanni Pellerito and Peter Zullo highlight the contributions of Italian-Americans currently living and working in Little Italy districts across the nation. Check it out here:

Video: Bowery 1930, "Street of Forgotten Men"

Here is a video of The Bowery from 1930 that we've only recently come across. Some great shots here, which were supposedly taken from a hidden camera.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

LESHP & The Great Gatsby

LESHP mentioned in the closing credits of The Great Gatsby, taken from the movie premiere on 5/1/13.

Last year, Lower East Side History Project's Eric Ferrara and Seth Abrams had the pleasure of consulting the new Warner Brothers' film, The Great Gatsby. Eric and Seth got to meet and work directly with director Baz Luhrmann, writer Craig Pearce and actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Toby Maguire, Joel Edgerton and Carrie Mulligan.

Last night was the premiere of The Great Gatsby at Lincoln Center and we are proud to say that Eric & Seth's work can be seen throughout the film.

We won't spoil the movie and give away any details but LESHP was brought in to help give a realistic sense of gangsterism in 1920s NYC and inspire ideas about how characters like Jay Gatsby and Meyer Wolfshiem made money beyond bootlegging.

Though we played a small part in this truly extravagant production, this is the biggest project that LESHP has worked on thus far and very honored to be part of it. Thank you Baz Luhrmann and Warner Brothers for the opportunity.

See some photos:

Monday, April 29, 2013

Eric Ferrara wins an Acker Award!

The Acker Award is a tribute given to members of the avant garde arts communities of New York City and San Francisco who have made outstanding contributions in their discipline in defiance of convention,  or else served their fellow writers and artists in outstanding ways.  The award is named after novelist Kathy Acker who in her life and work exemplified  the risk-taking and uncompromising dedication that identifies the true avant garde artist.

LESHP's founder and director has been honored with an award this year and he is in great company:

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Barney Rosset and Fred Jordan
EDITORIAL: Ron Kolm and Jim Feast​
WRITERS: Richard Kostelanetz​, Peter Lamborne Wilson, John Strausbaugh
POETRY: Bob Holman, Steve Dalachinsky, Eileen Myles, Jim Brodey,  Patricia Smith, Harry Nudel, Lionel Ziprin (Posthumous), Dorothy Firedman, Konstantin K.Kosminsky​
FICTION: Carl Watson, John Farris, Janus Eidus
THEATER: Judith Malina (The Living Theater), Crystal Field (Theater For The New City), Taylor Mead, Augusto Mecharize, Hapi Phace (Mark Rizzo), Tabboo Stephen Tashjian, Peter Kwaloff
ART: Boris Lurie (Posthumous), John Evans, Jose "Cochise" Quiles, Elsa Rensaa, Dash Snow (Posthumous), Jerry Pagane, Anthony Dominguez, Peter Missing, Joe Coleman, Spider Webb
PHOTOGRAPHY: Ira Cohen, Alice O'Malley, Paula Grimaldi-Reardon
PERFORMANCE: Tuli Kupferburg, Valery Oisteanu,  Red Ed, Steve Ben Israel
VIDEO: Nelson Sullivan
FILM: Nick Zedd, Howard Guttenplan (Millenium Theater), MM Serra (FILMMAKERS COOP)
COMMUNITY SUPPORT: Patricia Parker (VISION FESTIVAL), Klara Palotai, Jody Weiner, Monica Panomarev, Lia Gangitano, Lucien Bahaj
MUSIC: Danny "Lord Ezec" Singer, James "Jimmy G." Drescher, William Parker, LAch Anti-Folk, , Razbeez (Posthumous), Joey Semz (Joe McCarthy)
VENUES: Steve Cannon (TRIBES), Hilly Crystal (CBGB), Al Orensanz and Maria Neri (ANGEL ORENSANZ FOUNDATION)
HISTORIANS IN FILM: Jeremiah Newton, Eric Ferrara

Join the award ceremony:

Thursday, June 6, 2013
7pm – 10pm
SoHo House 
139 Ludlow Street

More info:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Recap: "Lower East Side Oral Histories" at La Mama Galleria

Nina Howes introducing Lower East Side: Oral Histories

On Tuesday, April 9, 2013, several long time neighbors gathered for a special event celebrating a new book by Nina Howes and Lower East Side History Project's Eric Ferrara, entitled, Lower East Side: Oral Histories (History Press, 2012).

The event--which was sponsored by Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and the East Fourth Street Cultural District--featured a handful of the twenty-five interviewees whose stories and personal photos were documented for the project.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Look Back at the Bowery “Blue Book”

If you were down and out on the Bowery in the 1940s or 1950s, you wouldn’t want to earn the reputation as a “toes-up mokus” or aggressive “pinker” because you just might “catch some heat” from the “bulls” – or worse – you might be ostracized by your contemporaries and “outed” publicly in the Bowery Blue Book.

Read full article at the Lo Down:

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Look at St. Patrick's Day Parade’s Lower East Side Roots

St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Union Square, c. 1874. Source: Library of Congress.

St. Patrick holds a special place in the hearts of many New Yorkers. Not only is he the primary patron saint of Ireland, he is also the adopted patron saint of the Archdiocese of New York, so it is no surprise that tens of thousands of people show up every year just to participate in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade—while spectators run into the millions.

Though very little documentation exists about the life of St. Patrick, the narrative which has become universally accepted is that the former slave rose to great prominence in the 5th century, bringing Christianity to Ireland. One famous legend states that St. Patrick taught the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) utilizing the symbol of the three-leaf shamrock.

By the 10th century, a Roman Catholic holiday in honor of St. Patrick was celebrated in Ireland annually on what is considered to be the anniversary of his death, March 17. It wasn’t until the 18th century that an official parade was organized in St. Patrick’s honor and that took place over 3,000 miles from his homeland, here in Lower Manhattan.

Though it is thought of as the oldest and largest non-military parade in the nation, details about when New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade started are just as fluid as the legend of St. Patrick itself.