The Future of the Yiddish Theatre Walk of Fame

On Aug. 9, 2017, volunteers and the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation did an outreach event to help preserve the Yiddish Theatre Walk of Fame. (Photo by GVSHP, Creative Commons license)

On the sidewalk in front of the former Second Avenue Deli by East 10th Street, the 32 stars embedded into the ground could soon soon disappear. They make up the Yiddish Theatre Walk of Fame, installed by Abe Lebewohl in 1984 – then the owner of the deli – to honor stars of the Yiddish Theatre District (or “Jewish Rialto”) on the Lower East Side.

Decades later, the stars, notes EV Grieve:

…have become worn down or broken and are mostly illegible. Higher rents forced Second Avenue Deli to vacate here in 2006. (Lebewohl was murdered in March 1996.)

Tablet’s Marjorie Ingall writes that the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation has started a project to preserve the walk of fame.

The GVHP has launched Friends of the Abe Lebewohl Yiddish Theatre Walk of Fame, in collaboration with Lebewohl’s survivors and a coalition of neighborhood groups. It seeks to “preserve, educate, inspire and reinstall a recreation of the historic plaque tiles in the area of cultural relevance and with long term stewardship.” The goal is to remove the original tiles and restore them as well as possible, then create a permanent or traveling exhibition to display them and to educate people about the history of Yiddish Theatre in America.

Also underway is an effort to recreate the Walk of Fame somewhere else in the neighborhood, using newly fabricated reproduction plaques better designed to withstand the elements and foot traffic.

Harry Bubbins, the East Village and special projects director of the GVSHP, tells Ingall that “someplace of relevance to the neighborhood history of Yiddish Theater is important.” For more details on what they have in mind for this initiative, go to Tablet.

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