Posts Tagged ‘Clinton Street’

Three ways of looking at Delancey Street

March 24, 2010

This 1919 photo of Delancey Street at the approach to the Williamsburg Bridge shows a messy stretch of tenements, shops, trolleys, and walkers crossing the bridge on foot.

At the time, the bridge was a mere 16 years old.

In 1975, the trolleys and subway stations are gone, as are the crowds. The approach still looks like a mess.

Some of the tenements on the left at Clinton Street are still there, but many have been demolished and replaced by housing projects.

Here’s the same stretch in 2010. It’s still mostly a mess of cars, bargain stores, and a confusing juncture of streets.

But that block of tenements on the left at Clinton Street is still hanging in there.

The first two photos are from New York Then and Now.

Notorious criminal “Marm” Mandelbaum

July 8, 2009

When you think of the criminal element in New York City in the late 1800s, portly immigrant ladies rarely come to mind.

But 250-pound Fredericka “Marm” Mandelbaum, who arrived in Manhattan from Prussia in 1849, became one of the city’s most infamous thieves, a kind of mother hen to organized crime in post–Civil War New York.

FrederickamendelbaumAfter moving to the U.S., Marm and her husband opened a dry goods store at 79 Clinton Street, which quickly became a front for her various illegal activities. Marm fenced stolen goods, financed gangs, assisted con men and blackmailers, and even taught pickpocketing to kids on Grand Street.

This godmother also had a ladylike side. She gave lavish dinner parties mixing New York’s elite with crooks. Supposedly she tried to improve the manners of her criminal cohorts, and she was a queen bee to other female swindlers of the time.

Finally arrested in 1884, she took off for Canada with a million bucks. She died there in 1894.