Wednesday, 25 February 2009


Eldridge Street (above) a narrow outwardly unprepossessing thoroughfare, is one of five streets in the Lower East Side named after military heroes of the War of 1812. In one grand municipal gesture of honour back in 1817, Eldridge Street was named for Lieutenant Eldridge scalped by Canadian Indians. Other than its original framework of tenement buildings, its prime architectural jewel is the Eldridge Street Synagogue. With the diminishing Jewish population its services were moved to the study hall in the basement and the rest of the magnificent building renovate and converted to a museum for nonsectarian appreciation of the architectural splendour and cultural history. Both a National Historic Landmark and a designated New York City landmark.

The street was birthplace to Ira Gershwin and Eddie Cantor.

The talented lyricist Ira Gershwin ( 1896-1983)(above) was born at 60, Eldridge Street, collaborated with his bother, George on countless numbers of memorable songs for stage and screen. Some of their shows included Oh, Kay!, Lady, Be Good, and Of Thee I Sing (for which Ira won a Pulitzer Prize for drama). In his later years he worked with other composers - Jerome Kern, Kurt Well, and Harold Arlen, to name a few. Musical talent must be in the air in this district as Irving Berlin and Al Jolson were both born nearby Eldridge Street.
Izzy (Israel) Iskowitz (above), better known as Eddie Cantor (1892-1964) was born in a gas-lit bedroom in a crowded apartment at 19 Eldridge Street, right across the street from the Eldridge Street Synagogue. The actor/singer would later say, "I made my debut before a packed house." A world famous performer, he appeared in the Zielgfeld Follies and Whoopee on Broadway and a number of films. His energetic presentation made him a memorable character, and he was associated with such song hits as "Yes Sir, That's My Baby," "If You Knew Susie," "Margie," "Ida," and "Makin' Whooppee."
Later Cantor achieved a lot more fame for his performances in vaudeville and as time went on became a big star on radio and television shows.

1 comment:

SadEnding said...

Can you please advise your source on the location of Eddie Cantor's birth? Thank you.