For example, we discovered a hand-painted, vertical sign that covers the northern-side of one of the building’s steel support beams during demolition in April of last year. The sign speaks to the presence of generations of shopkeepers who sold a vast variety of goods from the storefront space that will soon house the new Center.
The “scarfs” and handkerchiefs advertised here were once sold by Zwaifler and Co. Handkerchiefs, a manufacturer and wholesaler who occupied the southern storefront of the building between 1920 and 1956. Its proprietor was Morris Zwaifler, a Romanian Jewish immigrant who had arrived in
|Mid-1930s Photo of M. Zwaifler & Co Handkerchiefs. Collection of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.|
According to the New York Times, in May of 1944 the federal Office of Price Administration (OPA) fined M. Zwaifler and Co. nearly $10,000 for charging its customers more that the ceiling price it had set for handkerchiefs. Established at the onset of World War II by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the OPA was tasked with both rationing and setting price limits for goods made scarce by the war. But Zwaifler was not alone: oral history interviews conducted by Museum researchers have indicated that many
|Excerpt from the New York Times|
--Posted by David Favaloro, Director of Curatorial Affairs