Sunday, November 29, 2015

My Grandfather's View On Nassau Street In 1916

My grandfather, Thomas E. Pryor, was committed to a Staten Island orphanage for 8 years.  He was 8 when he entered in 1909 (his parents died of pneumonia) and a day shy of 16 when he was discharged to his Aunt, Mary Pryor, who lived at 300 E. 42nd Street in 1916.  

Below is a picture of my grandfather at the orphanage, his birth certificate, his intake/outtake card from Father Drumgoole’s Orphanage and his 1935 Hack license.

A few years ago, doing birth certificate business for my daughter downtown in the Courts area, I walked along Nassau Street and saw the vacant lot where the first New York Times office opened in 1851.  Through the lot I had a cool view of the Woolworth Building.

As I strolled about I thought about the day my grandfather was released from the orphanage in 1916.

The next day was his birthday. I imagined he walked downtown enjoying his new freedom, past the Brooklyn Bridge along Nassau Street turning into Broad Street at Wall Street.  When possible I looked up at buildings I knew were built before 1916 and mostly served the publishing industry at the turn of the century. I made believe it was my first time.

I saw what my grandfather saw as a young man. New York City busting the sky even on the side streets off Park Row and Broadway.  This blew me away. Below are some pictures from my walk and link to several others.


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