New York's most iconic sandwich is dying

The deli, they say, is dying. They're not talking about the corner markets or bodegas that appear on nearly every New York block. They're talking about the true New York City delicatessen: the brick and mortar expression of the American immigrant experience, the very culinary soul of the city. And unfortunately, where there used to be thousands, only a few remain.

More than 100 years ago, in the second half of the 19th Century, New York's tenements were swelling with new arrivals from Europe. Many thousands of these immigrants were Jewish, escaping persecution in Eastern Europe and Russia, and most settled in New York's chaotic Lower East Side. They carried with them their religious beliefs and culinary culture - and often very little else.

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