Events of May 15, 1902-New York Times
New York Times, May 16, 1902
FIERCE MEAT RIOT ON LOWER EAST SIDE
Demonstration Caused by Rise in Kosher Beef Prices
500 POLICE CALLED OUT
Officers Attacked by Immense Mob Around Hall Where Women Were Holding Indignation Meeting
Prompt action by the commanders of four police precincts checked a disturbance that threatened the lower east side of the city with disaster last night. The trouble behind the outbreak was the dissatisfaction over prices of Kosher meat.
Before the angry, yelling mobs that thronged the streets for miles had been quieted, 500 police officers had been summoned to the neighborhood, more than a score of prisoners had been taken to different stations, several men and women had been slightly injured by missiles hurled from the mad crowds, and the foreign-born population for a square mile around Broome and Essex Streets had been thrown into a state of excitement that was declared by people familiar with the quarter to be unprecedented in its history.
The Kosher butchers of the east side, numbering about 1,600, had abandoned their fight against the wholesale meat dealers and had raised their prices even higher than the retailers of up-town New York. The consumers of the east-of-the-Bowery district were up in arms. They had shown their rage all day by minor outbreaks against individual butchers. When dark came on, and with it a meeting of protesting women in New Irving Hall… the disturbers of the day had their numbers augmented by many who had been at work earlier. The women’s meeting was a sign for violence, and at 8 o’clock there had assembled outside the hall a noisy aggregation of from 5,000 to 6,000 people. …
It took the 500 men fully an hour to put a stop to the rushes against them, and even after that they were utterly unable to keep the streets clear. The crowds still lingered and shouted defiance from the distance. The ambulances still stood on the corners, flanked by the patrol wagons…
Until the morning hours the streets were black with noisy, excited people; the women were still urging on the men; the children were still throwing things at the police; the officers on the crossings still kept their weather eyes on the windows, as if expecting a brickbat on their heads at any moment. …
DISORDERS DURING THE DAY
The consumers of kosher beef, at least those who buy it, representing the wives and mothers of families of the east side, yesterday decided to take the matter in their own hands. Nearly fifty women were arrested, arraigned in court and fined, butcher stores were attacked and forced to close, and policemen were assailed with missiles, thrown at them by the women who formed the main number of the rioters.
Not alone were the proprietors of the butcher shops attacked, but those who patronized them also met with the mob’s fury. The meat which they had bought was taken from them, thrown in the gutters, and stamped upon. …
The Hebrew newspapers which appeared in the afternoon characterized the outbreak as little short of a revolution, and compared it to the revolutions of this kind which have occurred in Paris in times past.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Events of May 15, 1902-New York Times." (Viewed on January 18, 2022) <https://jwa.org/media/events-of-may-15-1902>.