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Orchard and Delancey

I met Howard Elfand as I was working on my first painting of the Lower East Side. He and his family lived in the New Jersey suburbs, but Howard had been a salesman in this area for many years and wanted a painting of this unique world.
The family picked a spot on Orchard Street. They agreed on wanting as many signs and billboards as possible and this street was filled with them.

Red signs, yellow signs, signs on paper, on buildings and on leaflets with advertisements. Then we picked an angle where they dominated the painting. The signs changed often. When I began to paint the first canvas in 1973, most of the stores were owned by Jewish people who had been born on the Lower East Side who were a part of its past. But a gradual change was taking place. Korean immigrants were selling wigs and food stores changed their wares. Slowly the old Orchard Street changed its culture and I marveled at how peacefully this took place.

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