Posts Tagged ‘The Ghetto Lower East Side’

The Lower East Side neighborhood of “Judea”

June 20, 2013

The Jewish Quarter. The Ghetto. The Jewish Section. The Lower East Side around the turn of the 20th century had several nicknames—with The Ghetto sounding particularly strange to contemporary ears.


But I’d never seen the neighborhood referred to as “Judea,” as it is on the back of this vintage postcard image of pushcarts, tenements, and crowds on Hester Street.


It was sent in by an Ephemeral reader who had also never heard of a New York neighborhood referenced as “Judea,” the ancient name of the province where present-day Israel is located.

“The Ghetto” on a 1926 Manhattan map

February 12, 2013

I wonder when “ghetto” went from being a perfectly acceptable name for a Jewish enclave in a big city to a word that feels derogatory, almost slanderous?

This 87-year-old map doesn’t use the word as a term of reproach, and countless newspaper articles and postcards from the late 19th and early 20th century refer to the then–heavily Jewish Lower East Side as New York’s Jewish Ghetto.


To contemporary readers, though, it can be jarring to see it on a reproduction of an innocuous map like this one.

Published by Fuessle & Colman, it depicts “the wondrous isle of Manhattan,” with the scale “all askew,” as the legend on the bottom right-hand side proudly states.