No study of the history of markets and marketmen in America can neglect these two books authored by Thomas De Voe. A butcher by trade and an historian and investigative reporter by avocation, he spent years compiling the history of New York markets. He combed through “the early records, the journals of courts, the city newspapers, the law reports, private letters and collections, public libraries and archives, histories, books, tracts, petitions and legislative proceedings.” He produced his invaluable The Market Book in 1862 to great acclaim.
Asser Levy arrived in New Amsterdam in 1654 with twenty-three Jews fleeing the Inquisition in Brazil. After obtaining amnesty from Dutch West India executives, Levy quickly established the first kosher butcher stall in North America (1660) in a recently built market called “Broadway Shambles”. Mr. Levy was a prominent member of the Jewish community, helping others with legal problems, fighting for full citizenshup (and Burgher rights), and advocating for responsibilities for its members.
In addition to the comfortable presence of Jews in America today, Mr. Levy’s legacy can still be felt in Levy Park in Brooklyn and PS 19 in Manhattan, both of which are named in his honor.