Restoring the Yiddish Theatre Walk of Fame
Friends of the Abe Lebewohl Yiddish Theatre Walk of Fame
News Flash! Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer has convened a Task Force on this important issue.
In the early 20th century, a vibrant Yiddish theater scene blossomed on the Lower East Side. Centered along Second Avenue and the Bowery, New York’s “Yiddish Broadway” offered dramas, comedies, and musicals that entertained and inspired immigrants and many others. In 1984, Second Avenue Deli owner Abe Lebewohl installed a memorial to honor the stars of this once-thriving Jewish theater scene in the sidewalk outside his beloved restaurant. In the style of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Lebewohl embedded two rows of granite stars bearing the names of some of the best and brightest Yiddish theater performers, composers, and playwrights, including the Secunda family. Over 30 artists were memorialized in this way.
The Second Avenue Deli closed its doors at its E. 10th Street location in 2006, leaving behind the Walk of Fame to serve as a tribute to Yiddish Theatre for the public. But now this civic tribute is deteriorating. Friends of the Abe Lebewohl Yiddish Walk of Fame is working to promote the history and culture of Yiddish Theater and preserve the granite stars first embedded in the sidewalk of Second Avenue by restauranteur Abe Lebewohl. Village Preservation is proud to be working with fellow stakeholders, with the support of the Lebewohl family, to secure the future of this important piece of our neighborhood history.
THE WALK OF FAME NEEDS OUR HELP
What needs to be done to preserve and protect the Walk of Fame? The surrounding sidewalk is chipping, cracking, and adding to the wear and tear on the memorial stones. The stones themselves have faded and according to an expert analysis cannot remain in the ground without further deterioration, and unfortunately cannot remain in the sidewalk permanently. Friends of the Abe Lebewohl Yiddish Theater Walk of Fame’s goals are to educate the public about the history of Yiddish Theatre, to preserve the original tiles off site, and to reinstall a recreation of the historic plaque tiles in this area with long term stewardship.
Spread the word to help save a piece of Yiddish theatre.
Oral Histories of Jack Lebewohl and Sharon Lebewohl.
Transcript of interview with Jack Lebewohl by Elissa Sampson, an urban geographer and Visiting Scholar in Cornell University’s Jewish Studies Program.
Transcript of interview with Sharon Lebewohl by Elissa Sampson.
The Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer has convened a Task Force on this important issue.
Village Preservation is proud to be working with individuals and stakeholders in this important initiative including:
- Bowery Alliance of Neighbors
- East Village Community Coalition
- Friends of the Lower East Side
- Historic Districts Council
- Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy
- 10th & Stuyvesant Streets Block Association
- The Secunda Family
- Tours of the City
- And with the participation of The Lebewohl Family: Jack Lebewohl, Sharon Lebewohl and Felicia Lebewohl
…and you! You can help restore this important piece of history to the East Side. Lend your name in support of preserving the Yiddish Walk of Fame and receive periodic updates and meeting notices, or email us directly to get involved.
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