© Joseph O. Holmes
Whether you celebrate Passover or not, you’ve undoubtedly seen the pink boxes of Streit’s Matzo in the grocery store each spring. For 90 years, Streit’s has been churning out this iconic product at the rate of almost 900 pounds of matzo an hour on Rivington Street on the Lower East Side. But at the beginning of the year, New Yorkers received the sad news that the last family-owned matzo factory in the U.S. was purchased by a developer and the company would be moving its operations to New Jersey (a move also echoed this week by Junior’s Cheesecake).
But before they head across the Hudson, photographer Joseph O. Holmes has captured the final days of this fifth-generation working-class landmark, which Fast Co. Design aptly describes as “New York’s Jewish Willy Wonka Factory.” His black-and-white photos are somber, telling of his personal feelings about the loss of Streit’s and the gentrification of the Lower East Side.