The Real Deal New York

Historic knish shop imperiled by construction

February 20, 2012 02:00PM

The shop that may have invented the knish, a 101-year old business on the Lower East Side, is being pushed to the brink of extinction by construction on Houston Street, the Lo-Down blog reported.

Yonah Shimmel, at 137 East Houston Street, relies on customers who drive in from the outer boroughs and New Jersey and pause outside the shop to pick up knish orders. But with two eastbound lanes on Houston Street torn up with construction slated to last till 2013, Yonah Shimmel’s days may be numbered.

“The city has cut off our oxygen… I have no money to pay my workers. It’s really bad,” Ellen Anistratov, an owner of Yonah Shimmel, said. While she knows it is illegal for customers to park in front of the store, her customers have done so for decades, she said.

A Council member from the local Business Improvement District has come to Yonah Shimmel’s defense.

“In this case, Yonah Schimmel is not just a small business, but a pioneer on the Lower East Side,” City Council member Margaret Chin told the Lo-Down. “All across our city, small businesses bear the brunt of construction impacts. The city needs to do more to mitigate the effect of construction on business in our community.” [Lo-Down]