A Lot about a plot

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The Clue To This Ukrainian Church’s Past Lies in a 140-Year-Old Safe

The inside cover of the 1869 Annual Trustees Report.

The inside cover of the 1869 Annual Trustees Report.

“We’re here for the youth service,” I insist, leaning close to the intercom and watching my breath escape in ghostly puffs into the frigid air. I scan the building from my perch on the back stoop; its white marble exterior and mansard roof shines in the rain and the soft glow of passing headlights.

Silence.

“The sign out front said 7:30 p.m…” I try again, holding down the “Talk” button with resolute firmness, “For the Ukrainian Evangelical Church service?”

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The Day After Christmas, When Sharpshooters Marched Up the Bowery

Until we return to our usual schedule Jan. 3, enjoy this daily series of longer pieces in which we unravel the mysteries and the histories of storied addresses.

Deutsch-Amerikanische Schützen Gesellschaft at 12 St. Marks Place, circa 1892.  (Kings Handbook)

Deutsch-Amerikanische Schützen Gesellschaft at 12 St. Marks Place, circa 1892. (Kings Handbook)

It’s the day after Christmas, and a group of what could be a thousand uniformed sharpshooters marches up the Bowery. It’s no zombie apocalypse but the German-American Shooting Society marching from its temporary meeting place at the Germania Assembly Rooms at 291-293 Bowery to its new headquarters at 12 St. Marks Place. The year is 1888.

Opening night of the new hall was the celebration of a long process to establish a permanent headquarters for the Society, which at the time was reported to number 1,400 members in 24 different companies. That evening “the entire building was handsomely draped and festooned with the national colors of Germany and America and with fancy banners,” according to the New York Times.

Today the only remnant of that scene is the German-American Shooting Society building itself at 12 St. Marks Place, now a historical landmark and one of the few remaining architectural vestiges of Little Germany.

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The True Story of Mr. and Mrs. Claus, the North Pole and Brooklyn Beer

Until we return from vacation Jan. 3, enjoy this daily series of longer pieces in which we unravel the histories of storied buildings. Presenting: A Lot About a Plot.

(Photo: Alistair Mackay)

(Photo: Alistair Mackay)

If you’ve ever hoisted a bottle of Brooklyn Lager and really looked at its Milton Glaser-designed logo, you may have noticed the words “Pre-Prohibition Style” hovering above the baseball-style “B.” And you may have asked yourself: how exactly can a brewery founded in 1988 claim to make “The Pre-Prohibition Beer”?

The answer lies miles away from Brooklyn Brewery’s Williamsburg headquarters, at 670 Bushwick Avenue. That’s where a three-story home resembling the mansion from Royal Tenenbaums – cast in deep red brick, with a conspicuous rounded tower – lurks behind a chain-link fence and a “No Trespassing” sign.

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The Temple of Capitalism: Jarmulowsky’s Bank

Until we return to the usual Jan. 3, enjoy this daily series of longer pieces in which we unravel the mysteries and the histories of storied addresses. 

Looking south on Orchard Street at Jarmulowsky’s Bank. (Photograph by Edmund V. Gillon. From the Collections of the Museum of the City of New York)

Looking south on Orchard Street at Jarmulowsky’s Bank. (Photograph by Edmund V. Gillon. From the Collections of the Museum of the City of New York)

The first time Travis Bass stepped into the unusual building on Canal Street – the one with twelve ornate stories surrounded by dingy warehouses and Chinese signs – was during a New Year’s Eve party hosted by Frank Müeller, the man behind infamous New York clubs like Fun and The Limelight.

In 1998, the Lower East Side was “the wild, wild west,” Bass recalls. Müeller was “kind of a crazy guy,” and he had rented an entire seventh floor, divided into two lofts, which he shared with several friends. Drifting through the party, Bass noted polished wooden floors outlined like a basketball court, a couch designed with holes to stick your head through, and CDs glued to the walls and creating the shimmering effect of a hologram. The party was “outrageous,” in typical Müeller style. But most impressive was the vista: “It was amazing. They had a view of the whole city.”

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