Looking Back


October 15, 2004

100 Years Ago When Mrs. Cohen walked into Joseph Schwartz’s 125th Street tailor shop to have her purple dress cleaned, Schwartz told her it would cost $2 to make it “look like new.” When Mrs. Cohen returned the following day, she picked up the dress and put $1.50 on the counter. Schwartz immediately jumped up and blocked the door,Read More


October 8, 2004

100 YEARS AGO Abraham Shnodman, a 35-year-old resident of New York’s Suffolk Street, made a bet with one of his pals that he could drink l’chaim — an alcoholic toast — 18 times and still stand up on his own. The two headed to a saloon on Greene Street, where, after deciding that one drink was equal to three fingers of whiskey,Read More


October 1, 2004

100 YEARS AGO An army of lawyers has descended onto the Lower East Side to untie the tangled knot of complaints regarding who will receive recently deceased real estate magnate Jacob Cohen’s million-dollar estate. Esther Cohen, daughter of whom she calls the “original” Harris Cohen of Baxter Street, as well as second wife and secondRead More


September 17, 2004

100 YEARS AGO Rosa Rosenthal, whose husband managed to disappear after she gave birth, can’t find a job that will allow her to take her newborn with her. With no job, Rosenthal has no money to feed either herself or her baby. Not knowing what else to do, she took out an advertisement to sell her five-week-old girl for $200. Unfortunately for Rosenthal, there isn’t a big market for babies and there was little interest. One man came to take a look, but said that $200 was too much for the baby, especially since it was a girl. If had been a boy, perhaps he would have made an offer.Read More


September 10, 2004

100 YEARS AGO The judges in Galicia have a strange sense of justice. When a Jew and a gentile stood before a judge in a Galician shtetl and were found guilty of the same charge, disturbing the peace, the judge meted out two different sentences. The gentile received a fine of five kroner and the Jew, 10.Read More


September 3, 2004

100 YEARS AGO Fierce competition among Jewish psychics caused a major disturbance on the Lower East Side. At 10 cents a session, Jewish bal shems can rake in a pretty penny and their number is increasing.Read More


August 27, 2004

100 YEARS AGO• When Ida Bukhovitsh arrived on Ellis Island two months ago, one Mendl Sheinfeld, whom she knew from her town in Russia, met her. Sheinfeld signed for her, saying he was her cousin and that he would help her find work. He then took her back to his Lower East Side apartment, where his wife, Rebecca, robbed her of 60 rubles.Read More


August 20, 2004

100 YEARS AGO A greenhorn has disappeared from Ellis Island. Velvl Koifman (Yerukhem Osher Yankls), of Britshan, Bessarabia, arrived from Europe last Tuesday on the ship Rotterdam and has disappeared without a trace.Read More


August 13, 2004

100 YEARS AGO While Morris Epstein sat drinking a cup of coffee in a corner saloon, his six daughters sat crying in the family apartment above Epstein’s Pitt Street bakery.Read More


Looking Back August 6, 2004

100 YEARS AGO• It’s usually not easy to get a job in the trades run by the trusts. Typically, one has to be a friend or a relative of someone who already works in the industry. But because of a strike by the workers in the beef industry, the greenest of immigrants has been hired directly off of Ellis Island. Most of these new immigrant scabsRead More





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