An online petition is urging property owners on New York’s Lower East Side to bring a new kosher restaurant to the area.
The once-overwhelmingly Jewish neighborhood lost its last kosher full-service restaurant last fall, with the closure of Noah’s Ark Deli.
The petition, entitled “Kosher Restaurant In Seward Park,” is addressed to the Seward Park Co-op, which owns the former Noah’s Ark space on Grand Street. It argues that a kosher restaurant would be good for both the neighborhood’s current and future residents:
“A Kosher meat restaurant is vitally important to observant Jewish communities such as this one since it serves as a place for community to gather and socialize around food, and also acts as a cultural center that needs our support to continue to thrive in a growing neighborhood. […]
“Further, there are many elderly Seward Park residents who are unable to walk a long distance, having a kosher restaurant will enable them to have a fresh meal every day.”
The petition is aiming for 1,000 signatures, and as of Wednesday afternoon, had 875. But many of the digital signatures came from outside of the neighborhood, even though the petition identifies itself as coming from “residents of Seward Park and the Lower East Side.”
The LES blog The Lo Down had previously reported that the Seward Park Co-op board is entertaining several offers for the space, “including at least one kosher-oriented operator.”
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the tenements of the Lower East Side were the epicenter of Jewish life in the US. But ensuing generations moved to the outer boroughs or the suburbs, while Jews in general have become less kosher observant.