Heart of the Meat Packing District
My grandfather came over in 1906 from Galicia/the Ukraine, and joined hundreds of immigrants who had little english skills but plenty of physical strength in the meat packing factories of this area. While he was extremely educated in his home country, there is little an immigrant can do without language skills and contacts in a new country. Through relatives and friends that had come over before him, he got a job here that lasted until the 1940s. His brother and cousin started their own butcher shop in the Ukrainian ghetto around 9th street with their experience and contacts at these factories. When others suffered from the Depression of 1928, my grandfather was able to bring home meat scraps for his family, and shared the scraps with relatives who lost their jobs.
The physical size of the buildings were important. I remember one prominent building that used to have a huge painted sign on it, reminiscent of its former glory. (April 2008)
The last vestige of the meat packing industry, important to New York since the 1870s.