Where I live, it used to be kind of a tombstone place — a monument place. It’s kind of like the end of the old Jewish businesses,” said Clayton Patterson, the Lower East Side documentarian.
Silver Monuments, at the corner of Essex and Stanton Sts., is in the process of moving to Queens. The company had been on the Lower East Side since the 1960s.
About five years ago, after demolition of the building to its north destabilized M. Schames & Son Paints’s northern wall at 3 Essex St., the business moved from its historic home to a new location at 90 Delancey St. The paint store had been at the Essex St. address since 1927.
Meanwhile, a bit farther to the east, Vic’s Pizza, near the corner of Grand and Essex Sts., will also be closing after 45 years after its lease expired. It has always been a favorite of high-school kids from the Seward Park Campus across the street, blue-collar workers and many others. Patterson hopes it will reopen somewhere nearby — but with today’s skyrocketing rents, who really knows?
“All the small, eccentric businesses on the Lower East Side are disappearing,” he said. “And so many Jews have moved out. And now in my area, there are a billion dollars’ worth of hotels. It’s almost incomprehensible how much has been lost. It’s like Hurricane Sandy came in and swept everything away.”