Posts Tagged ‘Hebrew Orphan Asylum’

The “orphan asylums” all over Manhattan

May 7, 2012

There sure were a lot of orphanages in Manhattan in the late 19th century. I counted 20 in King’s Handbook of New York City, from 1892.

Some were founded by nonsectarian organizations; others by religious orders.

All sound pretty heartbreaking—but at the time, they were progressive institutions where orphans and “half-orphans” could live, go to school, and learn a trade rather than fall victim to the streets.

The Hebrew Orphan Asylum (above), a colossal home on Amsterdam Avenue and 136th Street that housed 1,000 kids, opened in 1822.

It was “where Hebrew orphans and indigent boys and girls are sheltered and educated,” states King’s.

The Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum opened this home (right) for girls in 1870.It’s on Madison Avenue and 51st Street; the boys building is down the block at Fifth Avenue.

“In both the boys’ and girls’ departments, provision is made for the technical instruction of the inmates,” says King’s. “The work is carried on with a thoroughness which is characteristic of the Catholic Church in other directions.”

At right is a sketch of the St. Joseph’s Asylum, at 89th Street and what was then known as Avenue A (today’s York Avenue).

I think it’s the same orphanage called St. Ann’s Home for Destitute Children in King’s, as the address is the same.

King’s describes it as “a large and cheerful edifice with accommodations for nearly 300 inmates.”

Below is the third incarnation of the Colored Orphan Asylum, first opened in 1837 on Sixth Avenue and 12th Street.

The orphanage moved to bigger digs on Fifth Avenue and 43rd Street—but that building was burned to the ground during the Draft Riots of 1863, one of the city’s most shameful moments. (None of the kids were hurt.)

The orphanage moved uptown to 143rd Street, shown here in 1874.

[All photos: NYPL Digital Gallery]

Where was Yankee Stadium almost built?

April 7, 2011

In 1921, after the Yankees had been sharing the Polo Grounds in Upper Manhattan with the Giants for a decade, the two teams were butting heads—especially with the Yankees selling more tickets.

Yankees honchos Jacob Ruppert and Tillinghast Huston knew a new stadium had to go up.

After checking out sites in Long Island City and in the West 50s at 11th Avenue, a location was picked: Harlem, on Convent Avenue between 136th and 138th Streets.

At the time, the site was occupied by the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, an 1884 Modern Renaissance structure that housed more than a thousand kids.

A design was selected, but in early 1922, Yankees brass announced that the new stadium would actually be built in the South Bronx on land once owned by the Astor family.

What did the Bronx have over Harlem? Stellar subway access.

“Ruppert and Huston had looked at the Astor property shortly after buying the Yankees in 1915. They ruled the site out because it lacked adequate transportation,” wrote Neil J. Sullivan in 2001’s The Diamond in the Bronx.

“The development of the subway solved that problem, and the Bronx location became even more accessible than many neighborhoods in Manhattan.”

[Hebrew Orphan Asylum image: the NYPL Digital Collection]