|FROM ||Ruben Safir
|SUBJECT ||Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Another Lower East Side Institution is leaving
|From owner-hangout-outgoing-at-mrbrklyn.com Thu Jan 29 08:54:58 2015
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Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2015 08:54:55 -0500
From: Ruben Safir
Subject: Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Another Lower East Side Institution is leaving
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Maybe they should have converted it to a Shmorah Matzah bakery
Now, what are the Yekis going to do in Washington Heights?
On Wed, Jan 07, 2015 at 10:57:30AM -0500, einker wrote:
> Streit???s Matzo Factory, a Piece of Lower East Side History, Is Moving On
> By JOSEPH BERGER
> 6, 2015
> The grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the people who abandoned the
> squalor of the Lower East Side tenements have been moving back into those
> very same buildings, paying sums like $3,000 to rent apartments that a few
> decades before went for under $50, turning the neighborhood into one of New
> York City???s hippest.
> Yet Streit???s matzo factory in four
> converted 19th-century brick tenements on Rivington Street has withstood
> the tides of gentrification, one of the last vestiges of the classic Lower
> East Side that was the foothold in America for millions of immigrants and
> that one scholar calls ???the Jewish Plymouth Rock.???
> On Tuesday, however, the descendants of the founding Streit (rhymes with
> ???right???) family announced that they will be shutting down their ovens
> sometime after Passover
> baking matzos elsewhere, possibly in the Meadowlands of New Jersey. The
> factory is being sold to a real estate developer.
> That will leave only a handful of places like Katz???s Delicatessen
> Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery
> and Russ & Daughters
> on Houston Street and Economy Candy on
> Rivington Street among the remnants of the traditional Lower East Side.
> Well-known outposts like Ratner???s
> dairy restaurant, Schapiro Wine Company
> and Schmulka Bernstein???s
> , famous for
> its kosher Chinese food, are all gone.
> ???For the last few years, it???s been clear we are the last remaining
> connection many Jews can relate to because their parents and grandparents
> came through the Lower East Side,??? said Alan M. Adler, a great-grandson of
> Aron Streit, the business???s founder. ???Most of these places don???t exist
> anymore, and it???s very sad this one will be closing as well.???
> The closing was first reported on Tuesday by the blog Bowery Boogie
> Annie Polland, senior vice president for programs and education at the Tenement
> said that there had been something sweet about alumni of the Lower East
> Side descending on Sundays to shop and still find mainstays of the old
> ???They could go on walking tours and afterward have the experience of stores
> selling Jewish food, Jewish pickles, Judaica shops,??? she said. ???In the
> early 2000s they could still have that experience. It???s mostly gone.???
> The pressure of gentrification, Mr. Adler said, is not the reason the
> factory is closing, since the family has resisted offers to sell for years.
> Rather, he said, ???the reality is that operating a modern factory in four
> old buildings has finally caught up with us.???
> The two 75-foot ovens, which produce 900 pounds of matzo per hour, are
> slowing down with age, and ???we can???t find anyone to repair them,??? Mr. Adler
> said. The factory has no loading dock, and delivery trucks cannot find
> parking. ???It???s tough to do business in Manhattan,??? he said.
> The American matzo business has also been battered by the popularity of
> cheaper Israeli brands, some of which supermarkets give away free as
> come-ons. (A five-pound package of Streit???s matzos that can feed a family
> throughout the eight days of Passover can cost about $18.) Many Jews also
> splurge on the more expensive shmura matzos that are baked by hand in small
> factories in Hasidic neighborhoods and undergo more extensive rabbinical
> Streit???s describes itself as the last family-owned major matzo producer in
> the United States. Manischewitz
> which considers itself the world???s largest matzo baker, was also a family
> business until 1990 but is now owned by an arm of the private equity
> firm Bain Capital and owns or manufactures two other leading brands, Goodman???s
> and Horowitz Margareten . Streit???s has a
> second factory in Moonachie, N.J., that produces macaroons, matzo ball mix
> and other popular Passover products, and it may be the site of new ovens,
> though Mr. Adler cautioned that the family ??? there are 11 shareholders ??? is
> still deliberating over a location.
> Mr. Adler and his relatives informed the factory???s 50 workers on Monday,
> telling them they would find jobs at the company???s New Jersey site if they
> could accommodate the commute.
> Streit???s was started around 1915 by Aron Streit, an Austrian immigrant, who
> teamed up with a rabbi to open his first handmade matzo factory on nearby
> Pitt Street. A decade later, Aron and his oldest son, Irving, opened the
> Rivington Street factory in a single tenement. Another son, Jack, joined
> the business, and it did so well that it expanded into three adjoining
> tenements. Aron died in 1935.
> Today the business is run by Mr. Adler, a great-grandson of Aron???s; Aron
> Yagoda, another of the founder???s great-grandsons; and Aaron Gross, a
> great-great-grandson and the fifth generation in the business. Matzo-making
> was so woven into the family that the 63-year-old Mr. Adler gave up a legal
> career 15 years ago to become a vice president in charge of operations.
> Though matzo is a simple mixture of wheat flour and water, producing it is
> an intricate affair. During Passover, observant Jews are forbidden to eat
> grain products that have been allowed to leaven, or ferment and rise, so
> the flour and water must be placed in an oven within 18 minutes after they
> are mixed. The entire process is supervised by what are known as mashgichim
> ??? Orthodox people trained in the fine points of kosher law. Streit???s
> employs seven of them.
> At Streit???s, the mixing and baking are done by machine. Three minutes of
> mixing, followed by a flattening of the dough and the punching of the
> characteristic holes and then a trip lasting 1 minute 40 seconds through
> the oven. But the aging ovens are taking longer to process the mixture,
> which can change the taste and helps explain why the factory is moving.
> Evan M. Inker