The Second Avenue Deli has been in operation since 1954 at the corner of 10th Street and 2nd Avenue (where else?). When it was first opened by Abe Lebewohl, a Holocaust survivor, the Lower East Side was more of Jewish enclave than it is now. But despite the changes in he neighborhood, the Deli remained open, even when Abe was murdered during a robbery in 1996.
However, it now appears that the real estate market has become too expensive. The New York Times is reporting that last Sunday, Jack Lebewohl, the current owner, closed the restaurant and has not reopened it all week (Hold the Mustard, Maybe Forever). Apparently, he currently pays $24,000 per month in rent, and that rent is about to go up to $33,000, which he can't afford.
One of the things I always liked about the existence of the Second Avenue Deli was their nod to the history of the Yiddish theatre. Out front, on the sidewalk, they have a Yiddish theatre "Walk of Fame," stars with the names of actors from the Yiddish theatre's glory days.
Two of those names are Peisach Burstein and Lillian Lux, the parents of American-Israel actor and entertainer Mike Burstyn. Although we're not directly related, I've always been pleased that we share the same name. By an odd coincidence, last year Burstyn performed in a show called On Second Avenue, a tribute to the legacy of New York's Yiddish theatre. Sadly, Burstyn's mother passed away last year; I can only hope that his parents' stars don't vanish as well.