Much Ado About Bricks

Yesterday was a series of revelations for yours truly. Among the lessons I (re)learned:

1. When going to 11231 TAKE A MAP.
2. The gent who laid out Greenpoint’s streets (at least the northern part of it, anyway) is, in yours truly’s opinion, anyway) an unsung genius. For those of you who are not in the know, Greenpoint’s streets were (and still are) alphabetical. They start with Ash Street and end with Quay.

Granted, Lincoln has since become Greenpoint Avenue and P Street became Calyer. But the principle still stands. This is about as “idiot-proof” as it gets. In other words: if you get lost in Greenpoint, you do not deserve to be found. But I digress.

3. Getting lost is fun.
4. Getting un-lost is even more fun. Especially when you stumble upon such niceties as “Millie’s Garden” as seen at the beginning of this post. Follows are a few more details.

What is that I spy with my Garden Spot eye? A brick! From the good ol’ 11222 courtesy of John Cooper! Naturally I had to get down to the bottom of this matter when I got home. And I did. Which brings me to…

5. There is an entire brick collecting community in cyberspace. Brick foamers, if you will. And thanks to Brickcollecting dot com I learned a little about the provenance of this brick:

The Manhattan Fire Brick and Enameled Clay Retort Works (as described in New York Illustrated (New York: D.Appleton & Co., 1876) was located on East 15th Street near the East River. Henry Maurer learned the fireclay manufacturing business in his uncle’s firm, Maurer & Weber, and then established his own firm which relocated from New York and Staten Island to Maurer, New Jersey, in 1874

There were several firms in New York City that took advantage of the nearby deposits of fire clay and manufactured both clay retorts and fire bricks. In 1845 Balthazar Kreischer established a fire-brick works in Manhattan, later known as the New York Fire Brick and Clay Retort Works; Kreischer acquired a fire-clay deposit on Staten Island in 1852 and established a works there which eventually replaced the Manhattan factory (his son’s house, the Charles Kreischer House and the workers’ houses for the company, the Kreischerville Worker’s Houses are both designated New York City Landmarks). Joseph K. Brick established the Brooklyn Clay Retort and Fire Brick Works in 1854. The Maurer & Weber Company later known as the Manhattan Fire Brick and Enameled Clay Retort Works, opened in 1863.

In 1868 John Cooper established a business, later known as the Greenpoint Fire Brick and Sewer Pipe Works, at 413-421 Oakland Street, Brooklyn. While there were 350 fire brick manufacturers in the United States in 1895, the New York-New Jersey area remained one of the major fire brick manufacturing centers.

I did a little digging around the Brooklyn Daily Eagle archives and lo, I found a story involving the Greenpoint Fire Brick & Sewer Pipe Works. Albeit not what I exactly expected. Without further ado, here it is: a tale of newlyweds and a mother-in-law. Enjoy!

As with most tales of this sort it reminds of a story. One which I suspect the Mister would prefer not be told. Much water has gone under the proverbial marital bridge by now. At some point he will think it is funny. I know my mother-in-law* (who is really cool) and I do.

But I’ll refrain from writing at length about what is now known as the Chez Shitty Couch Incident for the time being. All I’m saying is there are more effective ways to get a sofa than this. READ: throw the old “couch” (in my case a futon mattress) out while your husband is out of town. This will ensure you a new sofa— or in our case: a rather inexpensive and durable love seat. FAST. I speak from experience when I write this. Direct action and one bad ass mother in law: that’s how you get things done in Greenpoint.

Miss Heather

*Thanks Barb.


2 Comments on Much Ado About Bricks

  1. SpillConspirator on Wed, 11th Aug 2010 8:30 pm
  2. FYI
    “Sewer Pipe Works, at 413-421 Oakland Street”,
    Not sure if you’re aware of this, but Oakland St. is the former name of McGuiness Blvd.

  3. missheather on Wed, 11th Aug 2010 9:04 pm
  4. Oh yeah, I know. From what I can guesstimate this place was located roughly where the Pulaski is between Ash and Box.

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