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.