The History Detective: Isser Reznik and Sons

It seems like everyone I meet has a family connection to the Lower East Side, which makes sense given how crowded this neighborhood was 100 years ago. Part of the fun of working at the Museum is helping visitors find out more about family who may have been members here and discovering more about individuals who lived and worked in the buildings that still stand right outside our front doors. Recently, Bruce Reznik shared the interesting family photograph below. Taken in front of the family storefront at 77 1/2 Eldridge Street, just down the block from our historic synagogue, the photo captures 2 generations of the Reznik family from which Bruce is descended.

Isser Reznik

Uncle Shmulkie, Uncle Max, Great Grandpa Isser and Zehde (Jacob Cuppel Reznik)

Bruce let us know a bit about Isser and his life here on the Lower East Side:

I think Isser had 9 brothers and sisters and they all stayed in Palestine except Isser who came to the US. I think they originally came from Russia . The family had loads of money and invested it in oil during the early 1900’s.  Unfortunately they lost it all.  I have a copy of an entry in the “Who’s Who of American Jewry” at the time and it tells a little about him.  I know Grandpa Reznik did some designs for the materials they sold in the store.  He had patents for them and I remember him showing them to me.  Unfortunately, [his son] threw them out.  Isser had 2 wives-Zelda Rivkah Reznik (died 1/18/1927). and Sabrina Reznik (11/14/1881-11/11/1967).  Isser  died on 3/11/1944.

This tantalizing bit of history piqued my interest. Who was Isser Reznik, a man who lived and worked mere steps away from where I now sit? Stay tuned for the next installment of this series, The History Detective, as I discover why Isser remains largely absent from the documentary trail.

Can’t wait until the next chapter for more neighborhood stories? Hear all about G&S Sporting Goods, an East Side institution since 1937, in the Lo-Down‘s new series, “On Essex.”

Categories: History, Jewish History

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