Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Update: An Amusing Headline, A Family Legend


If you missed the original post, this 1920 article in the New York Times tells the story of a parrot that awakens a tailor's family to a burglar, and the16-year-old daughter, Cecilia, who proceeds to chase him up the street.  The article confirms a bit of my family's lore:

New York Times, February 2, 1920

In the post, I noted some confusion over the article's report that Cecilia's address was 5 Chrystie Street.  The action in the story takes place around Pearl Street and New Bowery, and my grandfather had always said he was born and raised on Pearl Street.

After some investigation (thanks, ancestry.com), I get some answers.  Here is a bit of the 1920 census for the 4th Ward of Manhattan, recorded about a month before the Times article:


The highlighted section shows my father's family, the Shermans.  Here's a detail that clearly shows 16-year-old Cecilia, as well as 12-year-old Edward, my grandfather:


Brothers Alexander and Lawrence are not listed because they were in their twenties at the time and had already left home (they are both listed in the 1910 census).  Perhaps they were just visiting that day.

The number 397 (to the left in the detail) is the family's address on Pearl Street.  In fact, the census reports of 1910, 1920, and 1930 all show the family living at that address.  This is also, presumably, the address of the tailor shop.  So back to the 1911 Bromley map, where the 3-story building they lived in is clearly marked:

NYPL Digital Gallery

The building is also right in the middle of the action that takes place in the Times story.  Unfortunately, I still don't have answer for the 5 Chrystie Street address.  Could just be a reporter's mistake?


3 comments:

Richard Bensam said...

I loved the earlier post so it's great to see this followup. But I must confess I'm still wondering why you recalled her as "crazy Aunt Ceil" -- but if that's a private family issue, please ignore my idle curiosity!

pinhead said...

@Richard
Thanks for the comment! My own aunt always called her "crazy Aunt Ceil", so I'll have to find out why. But it struck me that you'd have to be a little crazy (and very brave) to chase down and wrestle a burglar!

vzabuser said...

2 Christie Street was demolished in the 70's
I lived there until the demolition.
it was a triangular building on the corner of East Broadway and the Bowery- 2 Christie Street is under the current Confucius plaza