Linguist, lexicographer, radio host, public speaker

Where Smoking Is Still Allowed

A profile of one of the few businesses on the Lower East Side leftover from the days when it was the Jewish heart of the city.

“Vargas was hired on when he was 17, shortly after emigrating from the Dominican Republic. He used to keep a small notebook in the pocket of his butcher’s coat, on which he would scribble phonetically the Yiddishisms that he learned on the job. These days, Vargas, who calls Russ & Daughter patrons ‘an extension of my family,’ can carry on light conversation in the mama loshen, and knows that when customers ask for the heshbin, they want the bill.”

author avatar
Grant Barrett