This two-part exhibit featured Cooking for the Lower East Side, curated by the NY Food Museum and featuring the work of two Abrons Arts Center interns, Tali Horowitz (interviews) and Susanne Schuran (photographs). Examples of their work appear on this and subsequent pages.


Casa Adela (interview with Luis Farga) [Click thumbnail for interview]
Casa Adela is a small, bright Puerto Rican-style restaurant in the East Village. Adela Farga (shown, left) does most of the cooking, and there are one or two other friends or family who work there. Neighbors come to hang out and help. Luis is Adela’s son; he works in the front. Photos of the East Village in the 1970s line the wall.

Israel Moskowits - Gertel's Bakery* [Click thumbnail for interview]
For 9 years, Israel Moskowits (right) has been working at Gertel’s, a long-standing kosher neighbor-hood bakery on Hester Street. 18-20 people work around the clock there; in the back of the bakery the atmosphere is warm and friendly, and very busy. Mr. Moskowits never stops; he moves very quickly and jumps around — making babkas during this interview. All the goods made daily. Mr. Moskowits has a dry sense of humor, many times it’s not clear if he’s serious or joking. He wishes he could be home more and sees his main job as a father to his 4 children, who sometimes come to work with him on Saturday nights at the end of Shabbat.

Benny Hernandez - GOOD COMPANIONS at Henry Street Settlement
Benny (left) is the second chef for Good Companions, a lunch program feeding up to 450 seniors each weekday. Benny and other staff serve lunch cafeteria style, bringing trays to those who need assistance. It’s a social, friendly atmosphere; Benny makes the food and then eats with the seniors. He learned to cook through Project Renewal, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program that provided him with culinary training and a job in a kitchen.
[Click thumbnail for interview]

Adriano Flor - Miracle Grill* & Share Our Strength
For 6 years, Adriano has been the chef of the Miracle Grill restaurant in the East Village. He also volunteers with Share Our Strength, where he teaches nutrition and cooking classes to teenagers, families and seniors from the Lower East Side.

[Click thumbnail for interview]

Dan Dispenza - Rosario’s Pizza
Rosario’s Pizza has been a fixture in the Lower East Side for more than 30 years.
The owner’s son-in-law, Dan, and nephew Sal work as managers. Dan has worked
at Rosario’s 1½ years, Sal has worked there 36 years.

[Click thumbnail for interview]

Sweet Things Bakeshop* [Click thumbnail for interview]
Sweet Things Bakeshop is a professional bakery afterschool program of the Lower East Side Girls’ Club. The Bakeshop caters events and produces baked goods such as cookies and muffins for wholesale and retail sales. The girls are paid minimum wage; they must be 13, and must complete an application and interview process. They learn business skills, recipe testing, math, teamwork and more. June, Miladys and Ngina are adults who work supervising and helping the teen-age girls.

Vanessa Duan -Tasty Dumpling* [Click thumbnail for interview]
Tasty Dumpling on Eldridge is one of two stores run by the Duan sisters. They serve a variety of fresh, inexpensive traditional dim sum, or light snacks. Each store has an eating counter, woks and steamers and a griddle, and serves up an impressive amount of take out. Vanessa has been in the U.S. for 15 years and goes back to Beijing “all the time.”

Nodas Kekatos - Zafi’s Luncheonette [Click thumbnail for interview]
Zafi’s Luncheonette is a real neighborhood hangout, a traditional diner of the style once everywhere, now disappearing. Men and women, old and young rub elbows at the counter, the phone rings continuously, and regulars are the rule. Nodas works in the small kitchen/grill area with his two grown sons and one or two others.

*

 

Since this exhibition was created, things have changed on the Lower East Side. Like the neighborhood, some food services change, and some remain the same.

Updates:

  • Gertel's is gone from Hester Street, manufacturing still, for wholesale only, in Brooklyn. We miss them and their excellent babka, rugulach, challah and sundry sweets.
  • The Miracle Grill on the East Side closed (the Westside Miracle Bar and Grill still flourishes), and Adriano has found a new home.
  • Henry Street Settlement no longer runs the Good Companions, but still hosts a variety of community services related to food and nutrition.
  • Sweet Things has expanded to their new bakery on Avenue B and their new cafe, La Tiendita, on 56 East First Street.
  • Tasty Dumpling has also expanded their original site and serves more good dumplings than ever.

for more infomation click here to visit the
Henry Street Website