<Excerpt from New York Offbeat Walks: The Bowery >
Ahead, cross over (4) Delancey Street and Kenmare Streets. Delancey Street was once known as a major shopping district for the Jewish community on the Lower East Side. Crossing Delancey is a play that was made into a successful film (1988), both written by Susan Sandler. Described as the ultimate Jewish rom-com, it captures an era when the Jewish community in this area was prominent. The film was directed by Joan Micklin Silver, who also directed Hester Street (1975), an often neglected gem about Eastern European Jewish immigrants on nearby Hester Street in the 1890s.
Delancey Street is named for Étienne de Lancy (1663-1741), a member of an aristocratic French Huguenot family, who fled religious persecution in his homeland and arrived in New York in 1686. A successful merchant, he changed his first name to Stephen and he, and his family, became prominent figures in the life of British New York. Their mansion house would later become the famous Fraunces Tavern on Pearl Street. The family owned 339 acres from here to the East River. The grid pattern of streets they established on their holding was largely retained on the Lower East Side, although Delancy Square, visible on a map of 1776, was never constructed. The family lost their New York estate when they backed the British side during the Revolutionary War.