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To Find the Lower East Side’s Last Mikvah, Look For the Sign That Says ‘Ritualarium’

Until we return to our usual schedule Jan. 3, enjoy this daily series of longer pieces in which we unravel the mysteries and the histories of storied addresses. 

The building as it looks today. The top reads 1904 for the year of construction. (Photo: LuciaM)

The building as it looks today. The top reads 1904 for the year of construction. (Photo: LuciaM)

An elderly woman stands at the window of her East Broadway apartment, practicing tai chi. A light snow is falling on the street below, where two young men in flannel shirts and skinny jeans enter a craft beer shop. The yellow lights of Happy Family Chinese restaurant blink gently in the distance.

At the corner of East Broadway and Grand stands an unusual building. White stones fan out around its windows, creating a contrast against the deep red brick. Its distinctive exterior reflects the boldness of its founders, eager to establish themselves in a new country and unafraid to be seen or heard. The letters ATH are carved above the main door, a nod to Arnold Toynbee, the British economic historian whose work inspired the settlement house movement, lovingly engraved by the hardworking New Yorkers who admired him.
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Adelle Waldman and Adrian Tomine On Capturing ‘The Faces of Brooklyn’

Kristin Henderson reads a story with her son Griffin. (Photo: Meghan White)

Kristin Henderson reads a story with her son Griffin. (Photo: Meghan White)

Yesterday at the Brooklyn Book Festival, things got hairy in line for the talk Faces of Brooklyn. One woman put out her elbows as a man tried to edge past her, saying, “Don’t you cut in here. Don’t be a cutter.” A man further back turned to his friend and asked, “This is just a panel discussion, right? They’re not giving away free sandwiches or something?”
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