An Interesting Story Behind 172 Eldridge

Posted on: November 6th, 2009 at 6:29 am by

In doing research for the post about the new mosque planned for 172 Eldridge Street, we discovered some interesting history behind the property.  It involves a tugboat called James D. Nichols, rough seas, and plenty of drowning.

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On June 25, 1894, the New York Times published an article about how local maritime conditions caused “drowning by wholesale in the waters about New York.”  Of most concern at the time was the J.D. Nichols tug, which sunk off the coast of Seabright, New Jersey.  Fourteen sailors drowned in the Hudson, and many others went missing.  One of the missing was a chap named James Hayes, a 22 year-old shoemaker; another was George Wanke, a 21-year-old tailor.  Both were residents of 172 Eldridge.

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The next day, on June 26, the Times reported that Hayes was picked up in the water and “taken to a hospital in Long Branch [New Jersey] where he died.”  George Wanke also drowned.

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