2. Spittoons and Snuff Boxes

Eldridge Street Synagogue-Museum at Eldridge Street-Tour-Lower East Side-Chinatown-NYC-003

The snuff box located on the building’s lower level visitor center is described as one of the most “unusual features of the architecture at Eldridge Street.” During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, smokeless tobacco (dry and moist snuff) was often used as a substitute for cigarettes, especially when users could not smoke indoors or find the time for a cigarette break. Because it was such a common habit, the congregation at the Eldridge Street Synagogue provide communal chewing tobacco, contained in a wooden snuff box; it also used a portion of their funds to purchase new spittoons every year and had strict regulations regarding spitting on the floors.