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The Jewish Objects of New York

Highlighting the Jewish impact on New York City

by
Adam Chandler
September 11, 2012
Singer Sewing Machine(Wikipedia)

Singer Sewing Machine(Wikipedia)

If you’ve been spending too much time online in the past week, you might have seen the widely-circulated New York Times feature listing the 50 objects that explain the history of New York City.

Of the 50 listed, dating all the way back to a Mastadon Tusk from 11,000 B.C. (no doubt to become an item for purchase at the Brooklyn Flea in the coming months), roughly seven of the items (with some wiggle room for interpretation) are either Jewish or were created by Jews.

They are:
The Bagel
The Singer Sewing Machine
‘New Colossus’ by Emma Lazarus (which you can read more about in this fantastic book)
Levittown House (designed by William Levitt)
Greek Coffee Cup (designed by Leslie Buck, a Holocaust survivor)
Leonard Bernstein’s Baton
The MetroCard (theoretically made possible by the Richard Ravitch)

This led me to think two things:
1. This is pretty impressive.
2. If there are seven definitively Jewish items that have helped leave their mark on New York (and a friggin’ Munsee Arrowhead is one of the non-Jewish ones) then it would be easy to come up with another 43 of Jewish objects.

So commenters, I leave it to you. Help us brainstorm another set to fill out the list.

I’ll post what we come up with later this week.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.

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