Sunday, March 30, 2008

Some New York History, Sort of

On Saturday I went to the 2 addresses I have for where my grandfather lived as a child. He was born in 1910. But alas, both homes (and I am led to believe there were more as they moved a lot--every time they couldn't pay the rent) are now housing projects.

551 Bushwick Ave (actually it now goes from 535 to 555 with no 551 in sight), Bushwick.

172 Manhattan Ave (no such address), Williamsburg.

BUT here is the next block on Manhattan Ave which has original tenements that I imagine were similar to what the neighborhood looked like in the 1910's and 1920's.

And finally, there is the history inside our walls.

While fixing various walls over the years we generally find something interesting stuffed inside a crack of brick. Years ago, inside the bathroom wall we found a peach pit, bottle cap, piece of lace and newspaper. Today in the kitchen wall we found a small bit of newspaper. There is one tiny scrap that says 1938 at the top of a page. And I've corroborated it.

A bit of paper from the sports section mentions that Brooklyn College will be playing their final football game of the year against Susquehanna after a split season. There is a weird typo that says they lost four and lost three, but I see that they won three and lost four. It mentions Alonzo Stagg Jr as the coach of the Susquehanna football team (1935-1954) and Lou Oshins as the coach for Brooklyn College (1927-1948). This article appears to have been written on Nov. 19, 1938. What it means is that the wall in my kitchen has been untouched for nearly 70 years.

Another piece shows an ad for Droesch Homes in East Floral Park for $3490 with 10% FHA Mortgage Plan. FHA was started in 1934 during the last depression before the current one. I can't find any direct reference to Droesch homes other than it is a common name in Long Island, and there is a Mayor Richard Droesch, probably a descendent. Another descendent sells real estate in California, and he references his great grandfather's business on his website. There is also a Droesch Place in Mineola, in Long Island.
There was also a bit of a cartoon called "Mickey Finn" which was published from 1936-1977.
And that, my friends, is what is hiding within the walls. So much more interesting than cockroaches and rats.


Tom Droesch said...

Hello! the newspaper page was very interesting to me - thanks for posting a photo on your blog. As I understand it, Droesch Homes was founded by my great grandfather Frank Droesch and they specialized in the building, financing, leasing and selling of homes on the east coast. I only know what my father, Frank III, talked about but we do have a copy of an old business card that looks similar to the writing on the newsprint. Thanks again and have a great holiday, Tom Droesch

Jill said...

Wow, that is so interesting. Real estate certainly has changed, hasn't it!