Posts Tagged ‘Jewish New York’

The banker called the “East Side J.P. Morgan”

June 14, 2012

The Lower East Side was already a growing Eastern European neighborhood by the time Alexander “Sender” Jarmulowsky arrived in 1873.

Those immigrants needed a bank they could trust, one with connections to their homelands.

So Jarmulowsky, formerly a Talmudic scholar from Russia and now the wealthy owner of a shipping business, started one.

His eponymous bank, at Canal and Orchard Streets, was a huge success.

Jarmulowsky earned a rep as an honest businessman nicknamed the “East Side J.P. Morgan” who paid 100 percent on the dollar during the occasional bank run.

States the Museum at Eldridge Street: “As one Yiddish newspaper described him, ‘Jarmu-lowsky was living proof that in America one can be a rich businessman but also be a true, pious Jew.’”

The 12-story bank building at Canal and Orchard Streets he built in 1912 still stands today. Unfortunately Jarmulowsky never got to see it; he died that year. His sons took over, but they were more Bernie Madoff than J.P. Morgan.

When customers went to withdraw their money to send to relatives abroad during World War I, they found out their savings were gone.

The Jarmulowsky building was sold for $36 million earlier this year—way too late to benefit any of the account holders who lost their savings.

A kosher restaurant feeds the Garment District

May 3, 2012

Lou G. Siegel (reportedly the G. stood for nothing) was a Romanian immigrant who opened his eponymous kosher restaurant on West 38th Street in 1917.

The timing couldn’t have been better. West 38th Street was the center of the booming Garment District, and Jewish workers and execs flocked for decades to the massive dining room for artery-clogging, traditional Eastern European eats.

This place went all out, “employ[ing] two rabbis full time to supervise the shopping and cooking. So exacting were they that one Rabbi sealed the refrigerator after dinner and the other unsealed the refrigerator in the morning,” stated a New York Times article from June 29, 1996, when Lou G. Siegel’s served its last stuffed derma.

Lou himself died in 1965, after falling down the restaurant stairs. The space is now occupied by Ben’s, a Kosher deli chain that uses a lot less neon on its facade.