The historic building on Norfolk Street, now home of the Angel Orensanz Foundation, has stood witness to the many turbulent events of New York’s East Side for more than 160 years.
The neighborhood’s silent sentinel, it saw its beginnings in 1850 as a milestone in the history of a group of visionary German Jews who just recently established a new heimat in the budding nation that promised freedom of worship & a chance for social promotion.
From 1850 until today our building had its share of glory & despair, reflecting, influencing, and defying the trends of the neighborhood.
An unexplored landscape emerged when we went back to original source materials of historical newspaper accounts, construction and renovation reports, personal correspondence, court records, diaries, board minutes, census data, deeds, and archival photos, among other primary source documents.
The Norfolk Street Archives blog hopes to contribute to the understanding of the events that shaped the lives of the people in this building, on the block and in the extended neighborhood, showcasing big and small stories with a continuity from past to present.
On these pages we’ll introduce you to the people and places we met along the way and welcome your notes and corrections to our version of history.