A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from June 12, 2005
Lapskaus Boulevard (Eighth Avenue, Bay Ridge)
Bay Ridge in Brooklyn used to be the city's Norwegian neighborhood, one of the world's largest neighborhoods of Norwegian immigrants.. Today, the neighborhood is mostly Chinese.

Eighth Avenue had been called "Lapskaus Boulevard," after a Nowegian stew. A recent short film by that title was released.

Many people remember the days when Trinity Lutheran Church on 46th St. and 4th Ave.in Brooklyn had 1,000 children in their Sunday School. Many people regret the loss of Eighth Avenue as the main Norwegian thoroughfare, known as "Lapskaus Boulevard", which thronged with Norwegian stores and restaurants. A Scandinavian community has existed in the Sunset Park, Bay Ridge and Dyker Park communities for over 300 years. The Norwegians physically and spiritually built these communities and built them to last.

Issue 13, March 31, 2004:
The Last of the Norwegians
on Lapskaus Boulevard
The lilt of Norwegian, taste of fish cakes, and sight of Norwegian seamen strolling along Eighth Avenue, have been replaced by the high-pitch of Chinese, taste of egg cakes and sight of thousands of Chinese shoppers scurrying to gather their groceries.

8th Avenue, Brooklyn
Eighth Avenue, once known colloquially as Lapskaus Boulevard (a Norwegian salted beef stew), due to its high concentration of Norwegians, is losing its last vestige of the old neighborhood. Signy's Imports, an Scandinavian specialty shop, is closing.

A few decades ago this part of Sunset Park, now considered "Brooklyn's Chinatown," was an old Scandinavian (Norwegian) neighborhood and was referred to by locals as Lapskaus Boulevard. Lapskaus is a Norwegian beef stew. Today one has to search very hard to find signs of their eighty-year long dominance. One ethnic fossil is a small variety store on Eight Avenue that has a lute fisk sign in the window. On field trips to the neighborhood, I had to explain to my students that lute fisk is a dish, served especially during the Christmas holidays, that is made from salted dried cod. Other signs of this senior ethnic group are the Protestant (Lutheran) churches in the neighborhood that, now in Chinese characters or en Espanol, announce religious and other services. In a few instances, students also found Scandinavian names such as "Larsen" displayed in the front of neatly landscaped single-family houses on some of the side streets.

HERITAGE HALL is located in a wing of the Norwegian Christian Home & Health Center, recently remodeled to a state-of-the-art facility. If interested, you will be able to have a guided tour of this beautiful complex. As you go home, you can drive along 8th Avenue (called Lapskaus Boulevard* by Norwegian-Americans), to see how it has changed from a totally Norwegian population to one almost entirely Chinese!

23 August 1947, Chicago Daily Tribune, pg. 13:
A Recipe for Lapskaus,
a Norwegian Goulash
"Lapskaus" is a favorite Norwegian dish, similar to a goulash, and before some Norwegian cook writes to tell me this recipe isn't the right one, let me say that it was sent to me a few years back by the Royal Norwegian Information service, which should make it authentic!

Lapskaus [a Norwegian goulash]
[Sox servings]
1 1/2 pounds boneless beef, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 cup fat
2 pounds potatoes, pared and diced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon

30 April 1948, Los Angeles Times, pg. A5:
There were steaming bowls of Lapskaus, a Norwegian stew, also.

29 October 1969, New York Times, "The Question in Bay Ridge: Who Will Get the Anti-Lindsay Vote?" by Michael T. Kaufman, pg. 50;
There are said to be more Norwegians here than in Oslo, most of them living near Eighth Avenue, which is sometimes called Lapskaus Boulevard after a Norwegian beef stew. The Norwegians are the smallest of the major ethnic groups.

17 March 1991, New York Times, pg. 36:
In Brooklyn, Wontons, Not Lapskaus
For years, the Atlantic was the hub of a stretch of Eighth Avenue between 45th and 60th Streets that was dotted with dozens of Norwegian bars, bakeries and restaurants. But in the 1980's, a Chinese and Arab immigrants moved in, Chinese restaurants and meat markets supplanted almost all the Norwegian businesses along the street that was popularly known as Lapskaus Boulevard, a reference to a meat-and-potatoes stew that was a staple of the Norwegian worker's diet.

Posted by Barry Popik
Streets • Sunday, June 12, 2005 • Permalink

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