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Image Courtesy of Laurie Gwen Shapiro

Name the Lower East Side’s new mascot angel fish, and win a book, bialys, doughnuts and pickles! Along with the Lower East Side’s rich historical history goes a forgotten history of Lower East Side mascots. Beyond the beloved bodega cats, there have been fire Dalmatians and even mascot felines that kept guard over prisoners. But now, the East Side will be getting three new library mascots in the form of three angel fish.

A librarian at Seward Park named Andrew Fairweather, who is also the director of the library’s Lower East Side Heritage Project, thought it’d be a great idea to have some live-in fish at the library to brighten up the place. “We’re holding a contest to name the fish so that people might find a sense of ownership in them — this is a public library, after all!”

The winner will receive considerable yichus, Lower East Side for bragging rights, as well as a signed hardcover copy of Laurie Gwen Shapiro’s The Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica – the true story of a Lower East Side kid that swam across the Hudson River to stow away to Antarctica in 1928, a $25 certificate to The Pickle Guys, and a $25 certificate from Kossar’s bialys, and $25 certificate to the Doughnut Plant. (All donated by friends of the library.)

The judge for the contest will be Untapped Cities contributing writer Laurie Gwen Shapiro (Lauriegwenshapiro.com), a historian and lifelong resident of the Lower East Side. Shapiro will be showing a slideshow and reading from her bestselling book on Thursday, April 5 from 6:30-8pm at Seward Park Library.

Shapiro imagines people might go the historical route, the multicultural route, or the food angle. “Everything creative appeals to me! But I’m definitely looking for three names that go together.” She added, “One of the best sources for learning about forgotten New York animal mascots is the blog hatchingcatnyc. My quick search of the site for mascots scored Ginger the 1894 fire dog mascot for Hook and Ladder No. 5 at 437 East Houston, and Minnie, the feline mascot of the former Essex Street Prison. I think it would be fun for New Yorkers to read about these fish mascots 100 years from now. The small stories of the past are often the ones that shed light on a time and place.”

Untapped Cities will announce the winner online just before Shapiro’s April 5 Seward Park reading. Leave your ideas in comments. Ideas must be submitted before March 31. Remember to include THREE names that go together. In the case of duplicate ideas, the first to get the idea in will be considered the entry eligible for winning.

Next, check out the Top 10 Secrets of the Lower East Side and the Top 10 Secrets of Eldridge Street

 Lower East Side, Seward Park Library

43 Responses
  1. Brian Daniels Reply

    Anthony
    Orange
    Little Water
    The 3 streets of the 5 Points which no longer exist or go by those names.

  2. Ralph, Rose, and Pete- who, for decades, were the driving force of Boys and Girls Republic (on E 6th) and Camp Wabenaki. Peter Doyle passed in 2012, Ralph Hittman in 2015, and Rose Hittman in December 2017. They lived around the corner on Grand St.

  3. Isidor, Ida, and Strauss- after Isidor and Ida Strauss for their role in founding the Educational Alliance.

  4. Ralph, Rose, and Pete. Ralph and Rose Hittman ran the Boys Brotherhood Republic (now the Boys and Girls Republic) on East 6th Street, and Camp Wabenaki in Harriman State Park, for many many years. Peter Doyle, who came over from England, was also involved with the BBR and Camp for over two decades. Pete passed in 2012, Ralph in 2015, and Rose just this past December. These three had a positive impact on thousands of LES boys and girls.

  5. Dan, Tony and Cassandra.

    After writers who’ve written about Angels. Dan Brown (writer of Angels and Demons), Tony Kushner (writer of Angels in America), and Cassandra Clare (after the writer of City of Fallen Angels).

  6. Walter Matthau, Estelle Getty, Tony Curtis
    (Seward Park High School grads)

  7. Dorothy Parker, Harold Ross, and Alexander Woolcott, though for convenience, they could be called Dottie, Harry, and Aleck. (And of course the tank should then be called The Algonquin.)

  8. James [De Lancey]
    Jacobus [van Corlaer]
    and either William [Houstoun] or his father in law Nicholas [Bayard]

    (although if ILENE BUDIN wins, I won’t be sorry one bit)

  9. Anetka Bonacorso Reply

    Tianshi, Malach, and Angela – it’s the word “Angel” in the languages of the immigrant groups who have made the LES what it is today (Chinese, Hebrew, and Spanish)

  10. Alyce Conrad Reply

    I’ve already uttered bagel, bialy and babka, so i”ll stick with that.

  11. Ilene Budin Reply

    Since March is Women’s History Month, in honor of all of the known and unknown badass ladies of the LES, I suggest naming the three fish Lillian (Wald), Emma (Goldman), Clara (Lemlich).

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