The slow erosion of the Yiddish walk of fame

2009 September 15

It strikes me that no matter how well you think you know New York, there’s always something here, literally right under your feet, waiting to be discovered.

The Yiddish Walk of Fame is a tribute to the stars of Yiddish theater in the late 19th and early 20th century. Sadly, I don’t recognize any of the names (even Wikipedia has little on some of the figures), and it seems that without the walk of fame many important figures in the cultural life of the once very important Yiddish theater might fade further into obscurity.

Yiddish Walk Of Fame

Unbelieveably, the walk of fame was erected in only 1984 and yet some stars are already worn down and unreadable: (Video walkthrough / Photographic Walkthrough) The long term survival of the stars is tenuous. The deli owner who built the walk has since died, and his family has moved the deli to a new location, leaving the stars in their original location. The building owner has not expressed interest in their maintainence and upkeep ; the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation is working to have the sidewalk made a landmark (though there exists no precedent for it in the current historic preservation code). One can hope that somehow this important piece of New York City’s past is preserved, though as Lost New York so poingantly states, the people who would most appreciate the plaques will likely be eating at the Deli’s new location and not on second avenue.

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