NauenThen

My neighborhood

March 2, 2018

1 in 6 Americans has German background: That was certainly true for my neighborhood, which was largely German until the General Slocum disaster in 1904, when hundreds of people on an East River holiday boat died. The decimated community scattered. One remnant is the Ottendorfer Library, the oldest branch library in Manhattan and one of the first buildings constructed specifically to be a library. It's next door to the German Dispensary, now the Stuyvesant Poly-clinic, known for the busts of famous Germans. The neighborhood

The text of the plaque:
Designed by the architect William Schickel and built in 1883-1884, the Ottendorfer Library was the first building in Manhattan to be erected specifically as a free public lending library. The building combines elements from several late Victorian architectural styles and is important for its early use of molded terra cotta. The interior remains almost unchanged since 1884.
This plaque was donated by the community to honor and perpetuate the legacy of Anna and Oswald Ottendorfer. From the beginning, their gift filled a vital need.