Tuesday, August 4, 2009

August 4, 1914: Black Tuesday on the Lower East Side

The term "Black Tuesday" is usually associated with the stock market collapse in 1929 that precipitated the Great Depression. However, this phrase has also been used to describe the closing of the Jarmulowsky Bank Building at 54-58 Canal Street (once the tallest building on the Lower East Side) on August 4, 1914. The bank was founded in 1873 by Russian immigrant Sender Jarmulowsky, whose sons took over the business when he died in 1912. Thousands of Lower East Side immigrants had deposited their savings in the bank. But just before World War I, many of these immigrants began to withdraw their money in order to aid relatives who were fleeing Europe. Soon, the bank became unable to pay all of the depositors who demanded their money, and there was a run on the bank. As a result of the panic, the bank was forced to close, and riots broke out among the depositors whose savings were lost. The Jarmulowskys were eventually indicted for banking fraud and the building was sold at a bankruptcy auction in 1920. The ornate building still stands with its original name engraved above its entrance. It is now used for commercial purposes.

Ana MeiLi Carling, EVHP Staff

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