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Russ & Daughters
historic photo courtesy of Russ & Daughters

In 1914, a penniless Polish immigrant began peddling herring from a pushcart in front of his Lower East Side tenement. A century later, that cart has become, in the words of Anthony Bourdain, ?New York City?s greatest living institution.?

We?re referring to none other than Houston Street?s Russ & Daughters. And now the third-generation owner, Mark Russ Federman, takes us behind the counter of the house that herring built in a wonderful new memoir.

In addition to drool-worthy photos and recipes, Federman delves into the shop?s history and introduces the staff (where else would you find a Yiddish-speaking Dominican?), the customers (because here even Martha Stewart has to battle the disgruntled yentes) and, of course, the impeccable product (the Super Heebster sandwich will change your life).

Plus, with charm, reverence and a hefty dose of grandfatherly kibitzing, Federman makes us feel like part of the family. Sit down, he seems to be begging us. Have a rugeleh. And let me tell you a story?.

Hear stories from the author firsthand at 6:30 tonight (free) at the Tenement Museum, 103 Orchard St.

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