Roofing boss Shenker

Lower East Side roofer who was Michael's first employer

By March the weather had warmed up and roofing work was getting underway. I signed on with a small company run by a man named Shenker. He had a shop near to the HIAS building on Third Avenue and his jobs were mainly on the Lower East Side, laying new roofs on older walkup buildings. 

 My first my job was as a roofer’s helper, schlepping 60- and 90-pound rolls of tarpaper up five or six stories. Soon I learned the actual work of roofing—cutting the heavy paper material to size and applying it with hot tar. I was young and strong in those days but hauling those heavy rolls up many flights of stairs was hard and exhausting work.