Katz's Deli Houston St
People in the painting left to right
Marie Adler- Girl to right of telephone booth- daughter of Elaine and Myron Adler
Elaine Adler- Right of Marie
Myron Adler- Right of Elaine
Donald James Adler- Right of Myron (on bicycle)- son of Elaine and Myron Adler
William Adler- Leaning on light pole in blue- son of Elaine and Myron
Adler Richard Adler- Right of William- son of Elaine and Myron Adler
Murphy- Man with pushcart.
His history in that area seems to go back as far as that of Katz’s. Izzy Tarowsky (of Katz’s)remembers Murphy from when he would put some boards on top of a box, put newspapers on top, and sell them to people going over the Williamsburg bridge. Then he sold fruits from the pushcart shown here. He loved to talk to everyone when he was by himself- when his wife and brother in law were there he said very little. Two years after I finished this painting he stopped working. According to what the neighborhood people told me, a museum offered to buy his wagon, which supposedly by now was the last one left in New York. He sold it and retired.
Katz’s has been a landmark of the Lower East Side since the early 1900’s when William Katz and Harry Tarowsky incorporated under the name of Katz’s Delicatessen. In 1944 William died, and when Lenny Katz came home from the army in 1945, he took his father’s place in the business. In more recent years, Arthur Makstein took the place of Benjamin Katz and Izzy Tarowsky took the place of Harry Tarowsky. Next to Katz’s stands Gourmet Appetizers. It opened in the 1950’s and here is what Joseph Haber told me about the origins:“This is one of the most unique stores in the country. It is a far cry from the 1900’s appetizing store when people were able to buy herring from barrels for 3 cents or a slice of pickle or a roll for a sandwich. Then, a quarter pound of lox would sell for 7 cents a pound and a poor immigrant family could be fed for a couple of dollars a day. With the changing Times, herring sells for $2.00 and a quarter pound of lox would go as high as $3.50 a pound. It has become a luxury commodity today and only the elite of our society can partake of this food which was once considered a staple for the poor. With the advent of refrigerators and air travel, people who migrated from New York are importing it to areas all over the U.S. The rising fishing costs and subsequent pollution of rivers exhausting the supplies of the waters, are making these products less available to the general public. The East Side has become the mecca of those people who have the nostalgia for the products which come from their roots and memories of the Lower East Side. My line has been expanded to lake sturgeon, whitefish, carp, lox, caviar, kippered salmon, pickled herring, bagels, apricots, bialys, salads, cream cheeses, sodas, candies, nuts, and dried fruits.”