Friday, February 5, 2010

Hennington Hall Revisited

A blogger who writes about Knickerbocker Village, the Lower East Side housing complex of his childhood, tells me he recently stumbled across Papa's October 20, 1924 diary entry while researching Hennington Hall. (Hennington Hall, located at 2nd Street near Avenue B, was a meeting facility where Papa's nomadic congregation apparently celebrated Simchas Torah that year, though they normally gathered at another location on East Broadway.)

He was kind enough to look into his own records for traces of Papa's history and came up with this 1927 photo depicting the corner of Rivington and Attorney Streets, just up the block from where Papa wrote his diary:

The Knickerbocker Village post has other artifacts as well, including a census record of Papa's residence at 96 Attorney Street (and listing his country of origin as Poland) and a newspaper clip describing the October 1931 shooting of a neighborhood thug known as "Big Schafie" (real name: Alfred Mederisch) whose corpse was found on the roof of Papa's building. (On the roof, I should point out, despite the promise made by the killer, Joseph Schoeffer, to "get big Schafie and throw him off a roof". I suppose he wasn't that reliable a fellow.) Papa, newly married and living elsewhere by then, would have missed the resulting hullaballoo, though it's hard to imagine that he didn't recognize Mederisch or Schoeffer's name when he read about them in the paper.

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