26 November 2012

Classic Skyview Deli in Riverdale Closes

Even as the classic kosher delis of New York have closed one by one, Riverdale has remained a deli haven, the home of no less than three Jewish delis: Liebman's, Loeser's, and Skyview. And not kosher-style, but actually kosher! The real thing. Not a one of them less than fifty years of age.

Now it is the home of two. On a recent visit, I discovered that Skyview had closed. I quizzed three merchants on the ancient strip mall that used to home Skyview and none of them knew exactly when the business had closed. One said a year ago; one said six months ago; one said two months ago. None knew why the family eatery had shuttered.

I went to Skyview once, but it was a memorable experience. I recall a very eccentric, ornery owner. I recall an excellent meal. And I too a picture of this wall photo of how the place looked in the '50s or '60s.

Skyview opened in 1950 on Riverdale Avenue right near West 258th Street. As such, it was the oldest standing Bronx deli still in existence. It was also Glatt Kosher, as opposed to just kosher, meaning that it was super strict in its adherence to the laws of kashrut. In 2007, the ownership changed hands, with Danny Salamat assuming control. (Apparently, there have been a few owners in recent years.)

Now, I'm a little fuzzy about the origin story of this place. But, looking at the old photo more closely now, I realize the sign actually says "J. Liebman's Skyview Kosher Delicatessen." Could this be the space were Liebman's started? Did Liebman's move to its current location, and Skyview get taken over by new owners? Liebman's was supposedly founded in 1953, not 1950. Questions remain...

You can read more about the place here.

Here is the business that has taken the space now:


Toni Kamins said...

FYI glatt kosher does not mean "super strict...". Without getting too much into the endless minutiae of Jewish dietary laws and politics, glatt, which means smooth, refers to the unblemished lungs of a slaughtered cow. In order to be considered kosher a cow must not have any cysts, nodules etc, but the lungs are exempt from this. Glatt kosher beef means that even the lungs are without blemish.

Nowadays Glatt kosher is a label that gets attached to all manner of food, but in reality unless it applies to beef it is without meaning and has become a religious bludgeon to denote that one is a more observant Jew. And of course it allows merchants to jack up the price of already more expensive items.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

I was not saying that "glatt" actually translates to "super strict." I was just offering a simplified explanation, indicating that the strictures guiding glatt kosher certification are more rigid. Which your explanation indicates.

Brooks of Sheffield said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Old Pathfinder said...

My mother lived in the Netherland Gardens right above the mall. I brought her many a chopped liver sandwich from Skyview. My daughter now works up the street from Liebmann's so I go there now.
It saddens me to see these places close. New York was famous for their Jewish Deli's especially the Bronx.

Anonymous said...

From the linked article:

At Skyview, for example, a rabbi (from Riverdale) is present and on hand at all hours that the store is open, supervising with strict attention every slice of meat that is served up. The deli is also closed on Shabbat, unlike most non-Glatt Kosher delis, and all meat is bought from the most Orthodox suppliers (ie, NOT Hebrew National).

I now have an idea of why it might have failed. Adherence to these rules certainly wasn't cheap.