4.02.2012

Walking into Easter and Passover in New York City: Scenes from the Financial District and the Lower East Side

Two walks in New York on Sunday April 1, 2012, one in the morning in the Financial District and another in the afternoon on the Lower East Side, involved respective preparations for Christian and Jewish religious holidays and festivals. This year, Passover begins the evening of Friday, April 6 and ends in the evening of Saturday, April 14. Easter Sunday falls on Sunday, April 8.

My morning walk accompanied the Palm Sunday procession of the congregation of Trinity Wall Street, an Episcopal church, from St. Paul's Chapel to Trinity Church, five blocks to the south, along Broadway. The afternoon walk took in several stops on the Lower East Side, including several well-known bakeries, historic Orchard Street, and a former synagogue.

Preparing for Easter 
Palm Sunday Procession, Trinity Wall Street 


The procession began at St. Paul's Chapel with the blessing of the palms. The congregation gathered on the sidewalk for the walk south to Trinity Church.


The congregation carried palms and passed them out to people on the street. Palm Sunday is considered the first day of Holy Week.




The walk down Broadway included walking by Zuccotti Park, ahead on the right, the scene of the recent Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.


The walk reaches its end point at Trinity Church. The church, also known as Trinity Wall Street, directly faces Wall Street on the other side of the street.


The Palm Sunday procession enters Trinity Church. church website


Preparing for Passover 
Landmarks of the Lower East Side 


Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery, 137 East Houston Street, opened in 1910. Beginning around 1890, Yonah, a rabbi from Romania and new immigrant on the Lower East Side, supported himself by operating a pushcart where he sold knishes. Later, he opened a storefront with his cousin, and the cousin later took control of the business. The bakery specializes in sweet cheese and savory knishes, although new seasonal sorts often appear on the menu. website



Russ & Daughters, 179 East Houston Street, has been in business since 1914, a time when the Lower East Side was densely packed with Eastern European immigrants. The shop sells many Passover specialities, including matzo balls, potato kugel, pickles, smoked salmon, flowerless chocolate cake, caramel macaroons, and chocolate toffee matzo. website


Katz's Deli, 205 East Houston Street, was established by a Russian immigrant family in 1888. Katz's is one of the most famous Kosher-style delis in New York, known for terrific pastrami sandwiches and the location for a famous scene in the movie When Harry Met Sally (1989).  website


Streit's Matzo, 148-154 Rivington Street, has operated a matzo factory at this location since 1925. Stop in to watch the sheets of matzo roll out of the machine, and pick up some matzo to go and other products. Chocolate lovers will enjoy the egg matzos covered in dark chocolate and the thin mints. The descendants of founder Aron Streit still run the company. website


On Sundays, Orchard Street is closed for car traffic and opened up for pedestrians. Businesses are open, and often merchandise is rolled out onto the street.


Former First Warsaw Congregation, originally Congregation Adath Jeshurun of Jassy, 58-60 Rivington Street, built 1903. The architect Emery Roth would later design famous New York apartment buildings such as the San Remo Building. A former synagogue, the building is now used for artist residences.

These two walks in the city end symbolically in another city. 

Palm Sunday -

"The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem."

and

The Passover Seder -

"Next Year in Jerusalem" 



View St. Paul's Chapel to Trinity Church in a larger map
View Lower East Side in a larger map


Images by Walking Off the Big Apple from Sunday, April 1, 2012.

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