Restoring the Yiddish Theatre Walk of Fame
Join the Friends of the Abe Lebewohl Yiddish Theatre Walk of Fame
Credit: Ilaria Parogni, Bedford + Bowery
In the early decades of the 20th century, a vibrant Yiddish theatre scene blossomed on the Lower East Side. Centered at Second Avenue and the Bowery, New York’s “Yiddish Broadway” offered dramas, comedies, and musicals that entertained and inspired thousands. In 1984, Second Avenue Deli owner Abe Lebewohl installed, in the sidewalk outside his beloved restaurant, a memorial to honor the stars of this once-thriving Jewish theater scene. In the style of Hollywood Boulevard, Lebewohl embedded two rows of granite stars bearing the names of the best and brightest Jewish performers. Over 30 Jewish artists were memorialized in this way.
The Second Avenue Deli was closed its doors at this location in 2006. Luckily, the Walk of Fame remained despite the closure. 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 Theatre and the neighborhood inspired by the granite stars first embedded in the sidewalk of Second Avenue by restauranteur Abe Lebewohl. GVSHP 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 are not fit for the long-term in place where they are now. Friends of the Abe Lebewohl Yiddish Theatre Walk of Fame seeks to preserve, educate, inspire and reinstall a recreation of the historic plaque tiles in the area of cultural relevance and with long term stewardship. We will work to gently remove the original plaque tiles. Exhibit them as part of a permanent or traveling exhibition. Support programming that highlights the Yiddish Theatre and the neighborhood, and inspire the continuation of the rich artistic tradition. And we will commission a recreation of the original plaque tiles to be reinstalled somewhere relevant and nearby, with long term stewardship as our goal.
Friends of the Abe Lebewohl Yiddish Theatre Walk of Fame will work to adhere to the original inspiration for the placement of the granite stars and build upon that physical and cultural legacy with partner organizations and individuals… like you!
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, an urban georgrapher and Visiting Scholar in Cornell University's Jewish Studies Program.
GVSHP is proud to be involved 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
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.