Essex and Canal St
When I first began this painting, Block’s Bar belonged to Charlie Smith and the store on the furthest left was a drugstore just going out of business. When I finished, Block’s was under Chinese ownership and the corner store was Indian.
The fruit store on the right hand corner is owned by Neil Kresel. It was always crowded and the crates, boxes, and garbage on the street showed the congestion of that area. I sat across the street and people watched.
Sam Fleisher is shown speaking to the fruit store clerk, who is bending down in the foreground.
I first met Sam when I was painting the Forward Building in 1978. He is a dedicated community activist who is particularly involved in helping the elderly. Most of the other people are from the community. The family in the painting does not live there, but in a sense they are a symbol of the area’s history.Fanny Sverdlik is in a brown dress and stands next to the stroller. She came to the Lower East Side in 1902. The whole family now lives in Long Island and in California.
They are as follows:
Frank Doft- Man in brown suit speaking to man with shopping cart
Sylvia Sverdlik Doft- Wearing white top, looking toward left, body toward right, holding shopping bag
Elliot B. Doft- Right of Sylvia
Fanny Kaufman Sverdlik- With stroller
Rebecca Katz Doft- In stroller
Amy Doft- Right of Fanny
Ellen Doft- Squatting by stroller
Alex Katz- Right of Amy and Ellen Doft
Peter Doft- Right of Alex Doft