Posts Tagged ‘German immigrants in NYC’

Where was New York’s “German Play Ground?”

November 24, 2010

While browsing the Museum of the City of New York’s Byron collection online archive, I came across the photo from 1903.

Interestingly, instead of going by the park’s real name, it’s mysteriously labeled the “German Play Ground.”

Must be Tompkins Square Park, which was heavily German at the timeā€”so much so that the neighborhood was known as “Kleindeutschland,” or Little Germany.

Of course, lots of neighborhoods were German, such as Bushwick, known for its breweries. But here, I think the winding paths and benches give it away.

A busy shopping district downtown in 1855

November 10, 2010

This lovely print of then-bustling Liberty Street is a promotion for Witte & Brunswig, importers of French and German “fancy goods.”

“The printmaker included several anecdotal details: a pigtailed Chinese man (lower right); a black man fashionably attired in plaid trousers, leaning against a lamp post (near lower right); and, cleverly, a man wearing placards advertising his own commercial lithography business (toward the lower left)” writes Marilyn Symmes in Impressions of New York.

So who are the “friends” this ad addresses? Probably other German immigrants, according to Symmes. At this time, Germans made up the second largest group of immigrants in the city (first: the Irish).