Posts Tagged ‘Grace Church’

A 10th Street bakery coins the “breadline”

June 13, 2011

In November 1876, Louis Fleischmann opened his Vienna Bakery at newly posh Broadway and Tenth Street (below, between Grace Church and the A.T. Stewart department store, in a NYPL 1891 photo).

The plan was to introduce New Yorkers to breads and sweet treats made with his family’s packaged yeast—a novelty at the time.

The Vienna Bakery was a huge hit. But soon, it began serving a different kind of client: starving New Yorkers. That’s how the term “breadline” was born.

“The idea of its establishment came to Mr. Fleischmann when he noticed a crowd of hungry tramps standing over the grating at the bakery at Tenth Street and Broadway, scenting the hot loaves that were being turned out in the basement,” wrote The New York Times in Fleischmann’s 1904 obituary.

“Mr. Fleischmann offered to feed one of the men, and soon a line formed. It was then that he determined to give bread to every hungry man who would come for it.

“The breadline grew until at night as many as 500 loaves were handed out to the men. . . . In winter coffee was given with the bread, and when the philanthropist saw a man in line hurry off to his home with his loaf instead of eating it himself, he had the man followed and aided the family.”

After Fleischmann’s death, the breadline persisted—among many other breadlines that had popped up in the city.

[Above photo, Fleischmann’s breadline in 1913]

Broadway and East 10th Street: 1911 vs. 2011

November 21, 2010

“Here Broadway approaches Union Square from the south, with what is probably the midday crowd on its wide sidewalks,” states the caption of this photo, published in a fascinating book of photos, New York Then and Now.

Sure, the businesses lining this stretch of the city’s longest street have changed in 100 years; see the signs on the left for a few furriers.

The hotel on the left is the fashionable St. Denis, built in 1852 by James Renwick, better known as the architect who designed Grace Church, at right, in the 1840s. (He was also behind St. Patrick’s Cathedral.)

Broadway teems with trolleys going in both ways. It’s like a game of Frogger. No wonder pedestrians were always dodging them—not always with success.

The same view exactly a century later shows that this corner is still prime real estate, and many of the buildings survive, with nail salons, delis, restaurants, and boutiques renting space.

Too bad you can no longer see the Flatiron Building from this vantage point.

Rhinelander Gardens: then and now

December 30, 2009

Designed by James Renwick—architect of Grace Church on Tenth Street and Broadway and St. Patrick’s Cathedral—these “three-decker” row houses stood at the corner of Sixth Avenue and 11th Street since 1855.

I’m not sure what connection they have to the Rhinelanders—an old New York family—but the family probably owned the land they were built on, hence the name.

Another Rhinelander real estate site is just around the corner on Seventh Avenue.

Berenice Abbott took the photo in 1937. Rhinelander Gardens only lasted another 20 years. Amazingly, the city tore them down (and their lovely front lawns and cast-iron balconies!) to build P.S. 41.

The school is very 1950s. The tenement apartment building on the far right, the Unadilla, still exists.

Lost New York, by  Nathan Silver, published in 1967, has this to say:

“The setback fronts of the houses were the result of the imperfect match of the old Greenwich Village street pattern with the upper Manhattan grid. Some deep fronts can still be seen on 11th Street, but the Rhinelander row was demolished in the late 1950s.”