February 10, 2014

Could it be? The Lower East Side without a Kosher Restaurant?

It’s been several months since Noah’s Ark Deli closed on Grand Street. On more than one occasion. I would take the detour off the FDR Drive and head to the deli for a good sandwich. Somehow, the Grand Street stop and perhaps on occasion Gottleib’s on Roebling Street in Williamsburg across the brief were worth the trip not just for the good old fashioned kosher deli but just for the nostalgia of an era that was no longer. An era that may have included Bernstein’s on Essex, Lou G. Segal and others. But nostalgia fit best with the Lower East Side which represents the root of the thriving Jewish community in New York. Somehow this was the mecca for bialys and bagels, pickles and yes blintzes and perogies from Rattner’s. That was an age when Sushi, at least the kosher elk, was not yet created and upscale replaced neighborhoods that were famous for their eateries.

I took heart last week when I learned that local residents are in the process of a petition drive to replace Noah’s Ark at 399 Grand St. The goal of the petition to the Seward Park Co-op that owns the space is to have 1000 signatures. According to the Jewish Press, the residents are claiming that a “kosher restaurant will dramatically improve the quality of life for Kosher observing residents, but will also draw patrons from the many diverse populations of the Lower East Side.” 

Although I “kvell” at how the kosher industry has developed and “shep nachas” from walking into the Prime Grills, the Pardeses and Reserve Cuts of the world, a part of me mourns that pure innocence and perhaps the “schmaltz” of eateries that are no more. How sad!