Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Old New York City Photos

I was listening to old Extreme Genes podcasts from 2015 recently and in one episode, Fischer interviewed the man responsible for putting together the web sites https://www.oldsf.org and https://www.oldnyc.org. I have no connection to San Francisco, so oldsf.org did not interest me but oldnyc.org definitely got my attention. This is a collection of old photographs from as far back as the beginnings of photography to as recent as the year 2000. The majority of the photos are from the 1920-1930 range. The photos are mapped out according to their location on a map of New York City.

Looking at the main map on oldnyc.org, you can see a red dot wherever one or more photos are placed. Click on one and you'll see one or more photos set at this location. Click on one of the photos and you'll be able to zoom in and save it.
Most photos have descriptions, for example telling you exactly where the photo was taken, the year it was taken and stating that it was taken looking down a certain street from another street, looking a given direction. Some are not that specific and some have unknown dates.

My Dunzinger and Miller lines spent some time in New York City so I thought I'd see what I could find. First, Andrew Dunzinger was listed in the 1854 New York City Directory living at 329 Seventh Av.
I entered this address into Google Earth so I could see the cross streets. This makes it much easier to find on the Old NYC web site.
You can see here that this is at the corner of 7th Avenue and W 28th Street. Find that intersection in the Old NYC website map, click the red circle closest to this and you'll be able to browse images taken in this area.
This photo was described as "Seventh Ave., east side, from 28th to but not including 30th Streets. April 10, 1921." Assuming all of the descriptions are accurate, and given the apparent age of this building, it probably isn't the same building that was standing at this location in 1853. That said, I find it interesting that the business in this building is "Wagner and Schechter Furs and Skins". It is said that my Dunzinger family that would have lived here is related to the Wagner family from Wemding, Bavaria and Burlington, Iowa, who my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Dunzinger is reported to have lived with after the death of her parents.

Then the Quenzer Muller cleaning business owned by the brother of my great-grandfather, Gottlieb Muller and his brother-in-law, Fred Quenzer, as shown in this 1915 business directory.
It had a few locations including one at 2317 1/2 7th Avenue. Here is the location on Google Maps.

This photo was taken looking south from 46th Street on 7th Avenue showing the dismantling of the old street car tracks in 1936. The location of the cleaning business would be way in the back of the photo about in the center on the left side of the street.

In the end, I wasn't able to find a photo of a location where my ancestors definitely lived or worked but it still helps put their place in this world into some perspective.


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