Volume 76, Number 1 | June 6 - 12, 2007

Villager photos by Jefferson Siegel

Jaroslaw “Jerry” Kurowyckyj, Jr., with a last rack of sausages in the smokehouse room of his First Ave. butcher shop, which he closed last weekend.

Longtime butcher decides to get a cut of the action

The Kurowycky butcher shop on First Ave., an East Village institution for 50 years, closed last weekend, not because of rising rents but to take advantage of the rising tide of real estate values.

“It’s Economics 101. I’m the only person not being chased out by the rent,” said Jaroslaw “Jerry” Kurowyckyj, Jr., whose grandfather opened the business a half century ago.

Standing in the smokehouse room in the rear of the store, Kurowyckyj explained why his products were made without chemical preservatives.

“You don’t sell anything you wouldn’t feed to your kids,” he said. “Every single piece of sausage that comes out of here comes through my hands.”

Kurowyckyj hasn’t decided what will happen next.

“I can’t make any decision as of yet,” he said, “because any decision I would make would be an emotional one, not a rational one.”

Anna Sawaryn, a St. Mark’s Pl. resident who tracks the closings of local Ukrainian and Polish stores, said the neighborhood once had about seven butcher shops with Eastern European owners. If one closed, the workers would find employment at one of the others. But now there’s only one of the old-style butchers left, on Second Ave., she said. She hoped the new Whole Foods store on E. Houston St. would take in some of the jobless butchers.


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