Volume 77 / Number 30 - Dec. 27 - Jan.2, 2007
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

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Villager photos by Jefferson Siegel

Above, Jack Lebewohl readied for a ceremonial cutting of salami links — instead of a ribbon cutting — outside the new 2nd Ave. Deli, near a plaque in memory of his late brother, Abe Lebewohl, the deli’s founder. Below, Michael Salat of Sunnyside, Queens, dug into a hot pastrami sandwich.

2nd Ave. Deli reopens in Midtown, and near 3rd Ave.

By Jefferson Siegel

On Mon., Dec. 17, “toity toid and toid” moved a little closer to Second Ave. when the 2nd Ave. Deli reopened at 162 E. 33rd St. between Third and Lexington Aves.

Having officially opened the new deli at 6 a.m., Jack Lebewohl, brother of the 2nd Ave. Deli’s late founder Abe Lebewohl, stepped outside just before noon for a ceremonial cutting of a long link of “nickel a shtikel,” a.k.a. salami. Inside, patrons hoisted oversized pastrami and corned beef sandwiches on rye. All agreed that nothing had changed except the location as they raved about the food’s taste.

The prices, though, have moved “Uptown.” In December 2001, a hot pastrami sandwich at the 2nd Ave. Deli was $9.95; today it’s $14.25. A gefilte fish appetizer that was $8.50 six years ago is now $10.95. A cup of coffee, formerly $1.25, is now $2.75.

Jack Lebewohl’s sons, Jeremy and Joshua, are partners in the new restaurant. It’s about half the size of the original restaurant on E. 10th St. and Second Ave., which now houses a Chase Bank branch. At about 2,400 square feet, the restaurant seats 65 and has a small bar and a long deli counter. It will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Lebewohl said two-thirds of the original staff have returned.

Asked about the Yiddish Theater Walk of Fame that graced the sidewalk on Second Ave. outside the deli’s former location, Jack Lebewohl said he had plans to bring it to E. 33rd St. but wasn’t yet sure what form it would take.

In 1954, Abe Lebewohl and two co-workers bought a 12-seat coffee shop on E. 10th St. and Second Ave. and converted it into a deli. Lebewohl bought out his partners and eventually expanded the space into a 130-seat restaurant.

The original deli was open for 51 years before closing suddenly in January 2006.

Abe Lebewohl was killed while on his way to make a bank deposit on March 4, 1996. His killer was never apprehended. A reward poster hangs by the door of the new restaurant, just as it did on Second Ave.

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