The East Village’s Yiddish Hall of Fame

So what’s a Hollywood Walk of Fame–style memorial to Yiddish theater stars of the 19th and early 20th centuries doing in front of a Chase bank branch on Second Avenue and 10th Street?

It was created by the Second Avenue Deli in 1984, which occupied this site for decades until 2006. 

About 30 plaques are embedded in the sidewalk, each bearing the name (or in some cases two names) of some of the biggest celebrities who graced the theaters and vaudeville houses that lined Second Avenue.

There’s a plaque for Abraham Goldfaden (left), billed as the founder of Yiddish theater and the “Yiddish Shakespeare,” according to his 1908 obituary in The New York Times.

Fyvush Finkel, Bruce Adler, and Molly Picon, above right, also have stars. Many of the others, unfortunately, are too worn down to read. 

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9 Responses to “The East Village’s Yiddish Hall of Fame”

  1. Kaz Says:

    Is there enough of an imprint left to do rubbings?

  2. Josie Says:

    That is so sad! You’d think there’s be a record specifying the content of all the plaques. There are probably photographs of them in private collections. So much history is lost so quickly! I hope rubbings can be done to preserve what’s left before they are further eroded. Perhaps some information can be developed by close inspection and analysis of the rubbings.

  3. wildnewyork Says:

    I do think rubbings would work, yes. Hopefully the Second Avenue Deli, now on East 33rd Street, has a record of all the plaques. They only date back to 1984….

  4. Nabe News: September 27 - Bowery Boogie | A Lower East Side Chronicle Says:

    […] a stroll down the Yiddish theater walk of fame [Ephemeral […]

  5. Allie Says:

    This is fascinating. I walk by it (or over it, I guess), often, and was never sure why it was there.

  6. Ellen Calderazzo Says:

    Molly Picon was my grandmother’s/great aunt’s 1st cousin. I have a nice amount of her sheet music, autographed photos, etc. I wish I could have met her – for some reason, never got the chance.

  7. A remnant of the East Village’s theater district « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] the leading men and women who once thrilled audiences are memorialized in cement across the street. Share this:TwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  8. Luke Sacher Says:

    Don’t forget the Walk of Fame in front of the Theatre 80 St. Marks!

  9. Luke Sacher Says:

    Molly Picon! That FACE!

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