Friday, May 8, 2009

From Shimmel's Bakery to Shuttered Synagogues

Few things capture immigrant life on the Lower East Side better than art, which we'll explore in this week's series.
These gorgeous black and white snapshots of Lower East Side synagogues and bakeries by Dutch photographer Wijnanda Deroo were taken only 20 years ago, but have the feel of rare historic prints. The only hints of modern life are parked cars, graffiti, black plastic garbage bags, and the jeans and sweaters on customers at the still-thriving Shimmel Knish Bakery on Houston Street. Gertel's Bakery, another one of Deroo's subjects, was known for its tasty, authentic rugelach and challah. Unfortunately, like many mom-and-pop Jewish stores in the Lower East Side, it recently shuttered. The bakery's owners now run a wholesale business out of Williamsburg.

Recent photographs of the former Sons of Israel Kalwarie Synagogue on Pike Street (now a Buddhist temple) and Gertel's Bakery. Deroo's prints aren't floating freely on the web, so we couldn't post them here. Check them out on her website!

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