‘To serve his stomach and his faith:’ Little Rumania on the Lower East Side
Lara Rabinovitch , ¬¬¬¬Dr. Sophie Bookhalter Fellow at CJH, 2009, PhD candidate at New York University. Dr. Annie Polland, Vice President, Education, Lower East Side Tenement Museum, responding. Dr. Nancy Sinkoff, Associate Professor of History, Rutgers University, conducting.
From the first years of the twentieth century and into the 1940s, dozens of Romanian restaurants, nightclubs, cafés, and wine-cellars dotted Second Avenue and a specific corridor of the Lower East Side known as Little Rumania. Though often ignored in histories of New York or of American Jewry, Little Rumania and specifically its gastronomic institutions served a distinctive social and cultural function among Jewish immigrants from Romania and within the greater landscape of New York City. This talk offers a glimpse into this rich past while probing the complex associations to the homeland evoked in the restaurants through their displays of Romanianness on the Lower East Side.
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