The Lower East Side has long been a place “where panties and pickles live side by side.” Or so says the narrator of ”Around the World in New York,” a circa 1946 documentary exploring the lives of immigrants and ethnic communities in NYC.
In the above clip, recently uploaded to YouTube, the LES is described as “a new-world version of the old-world bazaar,” where “bargaining between merchant and customer still remains an art.” It just so happens that on September 28, The Lower East Side Tenement Museum will debut a walking tour, “Storefront Stories,” dedicated to just the kind of commerce you see here.
The 75-minute tour focuses on the Orchard Street marketplace of the mid-twentieth century, described in the press release as a “world of bustling shops, rapid-fire sales pitches and heated negotiations in the search for bargains.” (Kind of like the scene at Russ & Daughters the other day.) It’ll introduce visitors to eleven historic and present-day businesses, including a 1970s undergarment shop (panties!) and a historic tenement that recently became a restaurant (pickles!).