A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from July 31, 2004
Remember the character of Max Bialystok in The Producers?

The "bialy" was probably named in New York City. Its origins are Bialystok, Poland, but it was Polish immigrants in New York City who made the "bialy" what it is today. Credit probably goes to Kossar's bakery from the Lower East Side.

I've been to Bialystok, Poland; you won't find anything special there. Many of the town's Jews were murdered during World War II. The only shop that sold what I was looking for was a very modern store called "New York Bagels"!

20 February 1958, New York Times, pg. 52:
The explosion occurred at about 6:30 A. M. at Kossar's Bialystoker Kuchen Bakery, 145 Clinton Street, a block from the Clinton Street police station. (...)

No one was in the bakery at the time. The bakers had worked until 3:30 A. M. turning out "bialys"--small creased rolls--and other goods. The name comes from Bialystock, a town in Poland.

The bakery recently signed a contract with Local 3 of the Bakery and Confectionery Workers Union, whose parent international has been expelled from the united labor federation on charges of corruption.

The local had been striking since Feb. 1 against Kosser's and six other bakeries, all members of an owners' alliance called the Bialy Bakers Association, Inc.

Abraham S. Rauch, attorney for the association, said that only Kossar's bakery had signed with the local. He added that at the same time the bakery had resigned from the association.

6 August 1976, New York Times, pg. C12"
A Bastion of Bialys
Mr. Scheinin is vice president of Kossar's Bialystoker Kitchen Bakery at 367 Grand Street and knows bialys. And Kosser's is one of those unique New York things to do on weekends. Each day, Monday through Sunday, Mrs. Scheinin's two stores - on Grand Street and at 510 East 14 Street - bake 2,250 dozen bialys. Which is 9,855,000 bialys a year, just the way his father-in-law Morris Kossar baked them when he came to this ciuntry from Russia in 1927. They have been baking them on Grand Street for 40 years. (...)

Bialys should really be called bialystoks, in honor of the town in Poland where they originated. Bialystok, or Byelostok, as it was known during the various visitations Russia made upon Poland, has achieved another measure of fame. Zero Mostel in "The Producers" was known as Max Bialystok. But in this country the small doughy rolls that are almost impossible to slice are known ad bialys. (...)

Bialys in Kossar's are 13 cents each. :Sticks," which are long bialys topped with onions are also 13 cents, And there are variations as well. There are "medium" bialys which are actually three bialys moulded into one bigger one; "bulkas" which are three moulded into a loaf - each of these are 30 cents - and an "onion disk" for 50 cents which is five bialys molded and flattened and flavored with onions and poppy seeds.
Posted by Barry Popik
Food/Drink • Saturday, July 31, 2004 • Permalink

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