Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tuesday Nov 25

Not worked yesterday
& today business slow
home & dist


Matt's Notes

Papa worked in a garment factory and occasionally had extra days off during slack periods. He never much enjoyed these days off, both because he needed money (he worked in a union shop but probably didn't get full pay or even any pay on days like this) and because he was prone to feeling blue when he wasn't around people. Lately, though, he's been frequenting the "dist." or "district," which most likely means the Downtown Zionist Centre at 52 St. Marks Place. (I think he called it the "district" because the Zionist Organization of America's downtown district meetings took place there.)

Though he did have some business to take care of at the "District" -- he'd recently joined the organizing committee for some kind of Zionist ball -- I think he was also just hanging out there a lot more than he used to because it beat being home alone. It wasn't exactly around the corner from his apartment on Attorney Street, but with late November temperatures in the high 30's and low 40's (the recent slush storm notwithstanding) it was a relatively pleasant walk. (I wonder if his walk always took him past Tompkins Square Park, where, on the way to the District a couple of days earlier, he'd seen some workers putting a statue together at night.)

I recently paid a visit to the Lower East Side to map Papa's routes and take some photos of the places he mentions in his diary, but both his apartment and the District are long gone. Here's what Attorney Street looks like today, looking South from Rivington:

Papa's apartment building at number 94 would have been on the left, where a circular school building now stands. That two-tone building in the middle of the block on the right is the back of the old Clinton Theatre, another of Papa's favorite haunts.

The former site of the District at 52 St. Marks is ten blocks north and about three blocks west of Attorney Street, but whatever used to be there has been replaced by a new brick building:

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