The Best Air in the City - Socioeconomics of the Irish in Highbridge
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The neighborhood of Highbridge lies in the Bronx, bounded by West 172nd Street to the north, Jerome Avenue to the east, the Harlem River to the west, and West 161st Street to the south or "...the distance from which one can hear the [Yankee] stadium crowd roar." 1 It was first settled in the 1840s as the village of Highbridgeville, and among its earliest residents were many Irish immigrants working on the Croton Aqueduct, which crosses the Hudson River at this juncture. The Irish presence in the neighborhood remained strong for over a century, particularly from about 1920 through the late 1960s. Yet, the neighborhood was never solely Irish. Other white ethnic groups were always present as well as nativeborn Americans and, from the 1950s, African-Americans and Puerto Ricans. However, for many Irish, "Highbridge" was synonymous with "Irish." Throughout the mid-twentieth century, the economic story of the firstand second-generation Irish in this neighborhood is a microcosm of the larger economic story of the Irish in the Bronx and in the rest of New York City.
Looking For A Better Place As the ethnic make-up of once-Irish neighborhoods in Manhattan began to change in the early decades of the twentieth century, many Irish began to look to the Bronx. Between 1910 and 1950, the number of Irish-born New Yorkers living in the Bronx rose from seven percent to twenty-six percent. 2 Highbridge, with its pre-existing Irish population, quickly obtained a reputation as a good neighborhood for Irish looking to move from Manhattan. Like others migrating to the Bronx in the post-World War I years, people who moved to Highbridge were looking for a better place to raise a family. Advertised as having "the best air in the city," Highbridge was close enough to Manhattan for those who worked there, but also allowed families to attain a standard of living that may not have been possible in Manhattan. 3 More important to many Irish, the neighborhood already had an established Catholic church - Sacred Heart. Founded in 1875, by 1910 the parish had raised enough money to replace its old wooden chapel with a marble church. 4 Margaret Ginty, raised in the neighborhood, recalled in 2009 that "Everyone wanted to live in Sacred Heart. You couldn't get in to the neighborhood because no one was moving out....You were proud to say you lived in Sacred Heart." 5 Her family left Harlem for Highbridge around 1930 because her parents had heard that the neighborhood was a good area for a family, with the added bonus of a large Irish population. 6 The neighborhood quickly grew to accommodate this influx of new residents. By 1925 the construction boom in the South Bronx hit Highbridge 7 in the form of fiveand six-story apartment buildings, built right alongside the wooden frame single-family houses, relics of the Bronx's rural past. 8 Shirley Paris recalls that when her family first moved to the neighborhood in the early 1930s, "Highbridge...was characterized by a low, bro-The Best Air in the City: Socioeconomics of the Irish in Highbridge, 1920-1960 Kathleen Feighery holds a master's degree in Irish and Irish American studies from New York University, where she attended the Irish Studies Program at Gluckman Ireland House. She is a project editor in the college department at W. W. Norton & Company. ©2011. Published with permission of Kathleen Feighery.
NYIHR_P22_Feighery_V24_1R.indd 229/12/11 9:18 AM Vol.24, 2010ken skyline - six-story apartment houses next to two-story private homes and oneor twostory 'taxpayers.'" 9 Margaret Ginty recalls that her family's building at 96 West 163rd Street was five stories tall, with four twoor threebedroom apartments on each floor, each with a kitchen and a living room. 10 While some apartments in the neighborhood appealed to working-class residents and others to the middle class, the difference between the two could often be determined by as little as one room. For people who were accustomed to making do with little space, the addition of one room could make a significant difference. For Shirley Paris, her family's move from a four-room to a fiveroom apartment was "a significant move up the social ladder." 11 She described her family as "middle class folks," who usually had apartments with a dining room in addition to the bedrooms, kitchen, and bathroom. 12 Most working-class apartments, like those most likely occupied by Irish residents, did not have a dining room. Margaret Ginty remembers that her family would eat in the kitchen, which was so small that the family ate in shifts. The living room was converted into a dining room for Sunday dinner or parties. 13 Although some families did move to larger apartments as their family expanded, the majority of Irish families in Highbridge lived in spaces that had, at most, three bedrooms. Large families didn't mean bigger apartments, but rather more people to fit - they "made room where [they] had to." 14 Jim Mullan's family lived in a tworoom apartment - one room had the refrigerator, sink, stove, washer, pullout couch for him and his younger brother, television, and bureau; the other room was his parents' bedroom. 15 Pat Lorello, who grew up in Highbridge in the 1950s, recalls that: I don't believe I knew anyone, any - where who had more than one bedroom for their kids. As a matter of fact, I knew a lot of people who had all their kids in one bedroom and the parents had a Castro convertible [couch] in the living room, where they slept. That was just the way it was so no one thought anything about it. One bedroom for all the kids, and if lucky, another for the parents. 16 Edmund Dwyer, a Christian Brother who taught at Sacred Heart School in the 1940s, recalls the Irish residents as solidly workingclass.: Although their apartments were small, and one might have to climb a lot of stairs to get to them, they were always kept very neatly, and the children were always neatly dressed, if not in the newest of clothes. 17 Generational Differences The residential patterns in Highbridge reflected the varying socioeconomic positions of its residents. However, while there were significant differences between ethnic groups, more important to the story of the Irish are the differences the existed between first-, second-, and third-generation Irish. 18 For first-generation Irish throughout New York City, as well as in Highbridge, one of the major employers was the city itself. The city's transit system was dominated by Irish men; the 1930 census classified 14,052 residents of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx as working in transit, sixty-two percent of whom were foreign-born white men. 19 The Third Avenue Railway was ninety percent Irish at its height, 20 and by the 1930s, the Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) System was such a large employer of Irish immigrants that it was sometimes referred to as the Irish Rapid Transit System. 21 In 1886 the Suburban Rapid Transit Company crossed the Harlem River, connecting the Third Avenue Elevated with the New York and Northern rail line, which ran directly through Highbridge. 22 By the time the Bronx became a borough in 1898, more than half of the workers supporting the city's infrastructure, such as the transit system, streets, and waterworks, were Irish. 23 Western Bronx neighborhoods like Highbridge were among the first Photo: S acred Heart Church on Shakespeare Avenue in Highbridge as it appeared recently. The parish was established in 1875. By 1910 the growing Irish Catholic population was able to replace its original wooden building with a larger marble edifice. Courtesy of Bronx Catholic.
NYIHR_P22_Feighery_V24_1R.indd 239/12/11 9:18 AM Vol.24, 2010to connect to the city's expanding rapid transit system, 24 and this became a factor in the decision of Irish men to move to Highbridge. Transit workers were required to put in long hours on the job, with many working twelvehour days, seven days a week. Before unionization, a seventyor eighty-hour work week was not uncommon. 25 Because of this, many transit workers lived near the start or end of their work. The majority of the train yards, trolley depots, and bus garages were located in the Bronx, with a major train facility in Highbridge. In 1918, an elevated railway connected the Bronx's Jerome Avenue line with the Ninth Avenue line in Manhattan. It had two underground stops in Highbridge - Sedgewick Avenue between 161st and 162nd Streets and the intersection of Jerome and Anderson Avenues, 26 and brought passengers across the Harlem River to the Polo Grounds in Manhattan. 27 The Woodlawn-Jerome (6) subway line, which runs along Jerome Avenue and has two stops in the neighborhood, was part of the IRT until the IRT merged with the city lines in 1940. 28 On University Avenue in Highbridge, there was a complex of connected houses whose residents were known to be "all Irish" and was nicknamed "Interborough Row." 29 Like the earlier aqueduct and railroad work, also city-paid, these railroad jobs were extremely secure, providing stability for workers and their families. 30 While some jobs, like motorman, which required more training and skill, were fairly high paying, 31 most jobs were not, and most employees remained in the working class. 32 Very few Irish ever made it into top managerial positions. 33 Specific employment data can be found in the federal census, undertaken every ten years. Data from one Highbridge block, West 163 rd Street between Ogden and Woodycrest Avenues, can serve as an example block for the neighborhood. There were 215 total residents on this block in 1930. Out of these, 45 were first-generation Irish (25 male, 20 female), and 50 were second-generation Irish (24 male, 26 female). Germans were the second largest ethnic presence on the block, with 23 first- and second-generation residents. 34 (As the table on page 25 shows, there was distinct ethnic grouping within the different occupational categories on the block. For a more detailed description of the occupation categorization for the West 163rd Street, see endnotes.) 35 As discussed above, the railroad was a major employer - on this block both firstand second-generation Irish were represented in the "Railroad Worker" category. Jim Mullan, whose father was a motorman for the railroad in the 1950s, recalls that the fathers of most of his friends worked for the railroad, and all belonged to the transportation union. 36 In fact, the railroad is the second largest employer of first-generation Irish, preceded only by the "Laborer" category. Blue-collar workers were just as common in the rest of the neighborhood. Margaret Ginty's father held down two jobs - a truck driver for Muller Dairies, a German-owned company, located a subway ride away in Manhattan, and a mechanic at a garage at Ogden Avenue. 37 The railroad, however, was not the only "city job" the New York Irish aspired to. To the Irish-born, a job working for the government (city, state, or federal) was truly the pinnacle of success. These jobs were respectable, not as subject to the vagaries of the economy as manual labor, and, most impor-Photo: A construction site on Manhattan's Fourth Avenue for the Interborough Rapid Transit subway line in 1902. During the line's construction and early decades of operation, Irish workers found employment on the IRT. Courtesy of NYCSubway.org.
NYIHR_P22_Feighery_V24_1R.indd 249/12/11 9:18 AM Vol.24, 2010tantly, provided a pension and other benefits. 38 According to Kevin Meehan, an Irish-American raised in Inwood, a Manhattan neighborhood just across the High Bridge, "...a city job was the benchmark of opportunity." His brother's ideal job was not to be a millionaire, but to be a police captain. 39 In 1957, the Irish Echo echoed these sentiments, writing "...the secure job became the catchword: 'He has a City job,' became the slogan of success." 40 By 1930, according to McKivigan and Robertson, "...the public sector employed a full one-third of first-, second-, and thirdgeneration Irish Americans." 41 According to the WPA Historical Records Survey, in New York City "...by the late 1930s, the Irish made up...seventy percent of the Transport Workers Union; fifty percent of the police department, seventy-five percent of the fire department, and twenty-five percent of the sanitation department." 42 Within Highbridge, the "city job" held similar significance. Bill McNamara, thirdgeneration Irish raised in Highbridge, recalls that his father always encouraged him to go after a city job "because you will always have a paycheck." McNamara went into the police department. 43 Paul Heneghan's father was a postman, and the Heneghans counted policemen and firemen among their neighbors. 44 Jim Mullan's father, second-generation himself, worked for the subway, and encouraged his son to join the fire or police department; however, at only five-foot-seven, Mullan was too short. Mullan believed that his father regretted his son's lost opportunity until his dying day. 45 Mullan's father's job was itself a step up the socioeconomic ladder from his grandfather, who worked as the custodian in the Highbridge branch of the New York Public Library. 46 In lieu of joining up with the boys in blue, Mullan went to Manhattan College and then to City College for a master's degree in Alsace-Lorraine America Austria Czechoslovakia England Germany Ireland Italy Russia Scotland Sweden Switzerland Wales Grand Total Artisan72 110 Building Trades 1 1 Busi ness Owner 1 1 Civ il Service 1 1 Cler k 28 1 4 33 Clot hing Worker21 1 11 1 7 Domestic Worker 4 1 2 7 Engine er 2 2 Guard 1 1 Hotel & Boardinghouse Workers1 1 1 1 1 5 Labore r 7 8 15 Mar itime Worker 1 1 2 P olice & Fire 1 1 2 Prof essional Worker 10 1 2 1 14 Rail road Worker 5 4 9 Sales man 9 1 10 Skil led Worker 2 2 T elephone Worker 1 1 2 Grand Total1791 1 1 6291 1 1 1 1 1124 Table: Employment Breakdown by Nativity, West 163rd Street Sample, Highbridge, New York City, 1930 NYIHR_P22_Feighery_V24_1R.indd 259/12/11 9:18 AM Vol.24, 2010English. His father was baffled when he did not join the priesthood after graduation, because to his father the only people who went on to higher education were religious. 47 In contrast, his mother, who forfeited college for a job during the Depression, encouraged her son's educational pursuits. Her lack of higher education was always something she regretted, but wanted for her children. 48 The contrasting opinions of Mullan's father, who pushed a "city job" on his son, and his mother, who pushed higher education and had family established in the United States for a number of generations, are similar to those of the larger Irish population in the city. While these city jobs commanded a degree of respectability and stability, they did not offer much opportunity for socioeconomic advancement. The highest socioeconomic position attainable with these jobs was lower-middle-class. In order to move further up, one had to look to the private sector, a move many first-generation Irish were wary of making in fear of losing the dependably of a city paycheck. However, for all that these firstand second-generation men remained on the city payroll many, particularly secondgeneration Irish, pushed their children to higher levels of socioeconomic success through education. By the 1930s, the police, fire, and postal departments all offered scholarships for the children of their members to attend Catholic high schools and colleges. 49 By 1933, according to the Catholic Directory, high schools in the archdiocese of New York enrolled 158,352 pupils and Catholic colleges had 195 students. 50 This education was one of the most important factors in opening up greater opportunities for second and successive generations. Second-generation Irish living on West 163rd Street had more varied occupations than their parents. One notable difference is the presence of second-generation Irish in the "Professional" and "Skilled Worker" categories, which required significant education and/or training, and which do not appear for the first-generation (see Figure 1). 51 Women's Roles In Highbridge Irish women in the neighborhood also did their part to help the family's finances. Bill McNamara recalls that mothers who could afford to stay home did so, but many of the Irish mothers in Highbridge couldn't afford this luxury. 52 His mother worked at Fordell Films, a local company that made commercials as well as military, medical, and training films. 53 He also recalls that the H.W. Wilson Publishing Company, in Highbridge since 1917, was another big employer of neighborhood women. 54 Other first-generation Irish women in New York worked for Daniel Reeves' grocery store. Reeves and his brother were first-generation Irish grocers who had 750 stores throughout the city by 1941. 55 Margaret Ginty's parents worked for the Reeves family when they first arrived from County Cork in 1930. Her father worked as a chauffeur for Reeves; her mother worked in the household as a domestic until she married. 56 Of the first-generation women living on West 163rd Street in 1930, only three of twenty (a clerk at an insurance company, a seamstress, and a stock girl in a dry-goods store) worked outside of the home (two were unmarried and one was widowed). 57 To some extent, married women going out to work still carried a stigma through these years. Maureen Waters, who grew up in Highbridge in the early 1940s, recalls that neither she nor her sister understood "...the humiliation [their mother] felt, an Irishwoman forced to sell bedspreads in Macy's because her husband couldn't support the family." 58 At Sacred Heart School, the nuns' expectations for the NYIHR_P22_Feighery_V24_1R.indd 269/12/11 9:18 AM Vol.24, 2010employment futures of their students in the 1940s and 1950s were modest. Waters recalls "There was no talk of professional careers beyond teaching or nursing.... Most of [the girls] were expected to become good wives and the mothers of large families." 59 Despite this, some second-generation women were able to move into skilled jobs such as nurses, stenographers, secretaries, or teachers. 60 Second-generation women in the census sample entered the workforce in greater numbers and, similar to men, showed a wider range of employment categories than their first-generation counterparts. For women who didn't work outside of the home, taking in boarders was a way to bring in extra income. This practice was common throughout Irish communities in Manhattan and the Bronx, and continued well into the twentieth century. 61 Maureen Mooney, whose parents lived in the Bronx, remembered that before the Transit Authority unionized "...there was hardly a transit worker whose family could afford an apartment all for itself. Almost every one of them had one room in which he kept other transit workers as roomers." 62 For many Irish, the boarder was often someone connected with the family through blood or other ties. On West 163rd Street, there were thirty households headed by firstor second-generation Irish. Out of these, half had non-nuclear family living in the home (Figure 2). 63 Downturns And Departures Even with the stability of city jobs and women's incomes, Irish families were still vulnerable to downturns in the economy. In general, they did not have a lot of savings put away because most of their day-to-day earnings went toward providing for immediate needs. 64 As such, as Jay Dolan has observed "...they lived close to the edge economically; the slightest turn for the worse would have serious consequences." 65 Although the education rate improved markedly in the years after World War I, many second-generation immigrants, with their struggles during the Depression looming, chose to forfeit higher education for the more immediate economic security of a job. 66 The Great Depression was a big blow to many Irish and Irish-American families, even the most thrifty. 67 According to Chris McNickle, it is possible that the New York Irish felt the "greatest relative decline" when compared to other New York immigrant groups because they were part of "a rising middle class on the verge of making it, who felt cut off at the knees by the economic decline." 68 Blue-collar workers in New York City were hardest hit in the earlier years of the Depression. 69 Ten percent of eligible laborers were unemployed and seeking work in 1930. In a striking comparison, only 1.1 percent of public service workers were unemployed. 70 Paul Heneghan's father, who graduated from Regis High School in the early 1930s, was forced to leave college in order to help his family make ends meet during the Depression; he went on to a thirty-three year career with the Post Office, and like many other men who chose jobs over school during this time, never returned to college. 71 While the boom of the war years eventually brought the country out of the Depression, a fear still lingered among the Irish, both in Highbridge as well as in the larger New York City community, that there would be a return to the hard times. Jobs, not college, were seen as a way to secure one's future against another economic downturn. The lean years led them to an understanding of the importance of money, and a steady, if not large, income. 72 However, the post-World War II years did bring about some economic changes. According to William Shannon, in the years NYIHR_P22_Feighery_V24_1R.indd 279/12/11 9:18 AM Vol.24, 2010following the end of the Great Depression, the "... Irish had one foot in the lower middle class, but their hands reached many rungs of the middle and upper middle class." 73 Across America, almost ten percent of the second generation had managed to move into professional jobs, compared with less than five percent of first-generation Irish males. 74 In New York, there was a comparable decline in the number of Irish in bluecollar professions. By 1960, over fifteen percent of first-generation Irish were professional workers and ten to fifteen percent more were employed in clerical fields. 75 Before the Second World War, Catholics lagged behind other religious groups in terms of income averages; 76 by the mid-1960s, Catholics had reversed their previous pattern and were now matching and, in many cases, surpassing national income averages. 77 Two decades later, the New York Times observed that "...if there are fewer policemen in New York who have Irish names, there are more stockbrokers that do." 78 By the 1970s, the Irish were reportedly the best educated and most affluent white ethnic group after the Jews, and in 1988, according to the New York Times "So many Irish-Americans [had] succeeded in various fields that their prominence no longer is noteworthy." 79 Irish residents of Highbridge benefited from this increased prosperity, most notably in the fact that they began to move out of the neighborhood. 80 No matter how involved they were with Highbridge and Sacred Heart, the neighborhood was never the final destination for the Irish - the ideal of a house in the suburbs still loomed large. 81 Jim Mullan, born and raised in Highbridge, recalls that one of the proudest moments of his life was when his parents and godparents first came to his house in Fairfield, Connecticut. To them, driving up from their cramped Bronx apartments, he had truly achieved the American dream. 82 Contributing to this movement was the fact that, by the mid-1960s, the ethnic transition of Highbridge was well underway. The ethnic changes in Manhattan neighborhoods, which had first pushed the Irish into Highbridge, were now occurring in the Bronx. 83 These incoming ethnic groups were attracted to the same things in Highbridge that had initially appealed to the Irish - it was "one of the few nice places where relatively poor people [could] live." 84 Some Irish in Highbridge resisted the infusion of the new ethnic groups because "exactly at the point of triumph, having weathered the Depression, built the school, and finished the church, [the Irish] now confronted the possibility that, given patterns of racial transition in American cities, the painstaking work of generations might be rendered obsolete in a handful of years." 85 In the 1940s, whites made up ninety-five percent of the total population of the Bronx, but by 1970 had fallen by forty-four percent, 86 and fear of the African-American and Puerto Rican populations moving into the area was one of the biggest motivators behind the flight of Irish and other white ethnic groups. 87 The increasing crime rate and neighborhood deterioration also played into the fear. 88 By the late 1960s, entire apartment buildings, some of which were less than forty years old, were abandoned, while others were burned down. In one summer, according to one estimate, four-hundred Sacred Heart families moved out of Highbridge. 89 However, the economic stability that the Irish had worked so hard to obtain was finally rewarded. They were able to make the move out of the neighborhood, either further north in the Bronx or to the suburbs of Westchester and Rockland counties. The Irish had finally made it to "...the coveted position at the center of mainstream American society...." 90 Photo: A 1940s view from Jerome Avenue north up Ogden Avenue into Highbridge. The trolley line along Jerome Avenue began operation in the 1890s and, despite competition from the subway beginning in the 1920s, the line would continue operation until the mid-twentieth century. Courtesy of Bronx County Historical Society.
NYIHR_P22_Feighery_V24_1R.indd 289/12/11 9:18 AM Vol.24, 2010 Notes 1 C. J. Hughes, "Living In High Bridge, The Bronx: Home of the Bronx Roar," New York Times , May 20, 2007. 2 O nly Queens had similar growth for the Irish. Marion R. Casey, "'From the East Side to the Seaside': Irish Americans on the Move in New York City," in The New York Irish, ed. Ronald H. Bayor and Timothy J. Meagher (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), 396. 3 S hirley Paris, "Highbridge in the '30s and '40s," Bronx County Historical Society Journal 14, no. 1 (Spring 1977): 42. 4 R afael Olmeda, "Highbridge Church Recalls Its Old Boys," New York Daily News, September 21, 1997. 5 M argaret Cronin Ginty, phone interview by author, July 29, 2009. 6 I bid. 7 A llyn, A Short Historical Sketch of the High Bridge Neighborhood, 13. 8 G onzalez, The Bronx, 86. 9 P aris, "Highbridge in the '30s and '40s": 17. 10 G inty, phone interview by author, July 29, 2009. 11 I t must be noted that Paris's family was Jewish. Based on her descriptions, her family, like many Jewish residents of Highbridge, occupied a higher place on the socioeconomic scale than most of the Irish and Irish-Americans at the time. She recalls that her apartment building had an elevator operator as well as a ballroom in the basement that could be used for tenant parties. 12 P aris, "Highbridge in the '30s and '40s": 15-16. 13 G inty, phone interview by author, July 29, 2009. 14 McNamara, interview by author, August 11, 2009. 15 J ames Mullan, phone interview by author, July 20, 2009. 16 P at Stewart Lorello, "My Highbridge Years - 1951- 1964," The Bronx Board Diaries, http://www. bronxboard.com/diary/diary.php?f=My%20 Highbridge%20Years%20-%201951-196417 Brother Edmund Dwyer, phone interview by author, November 12, 2009. 18 First-generation immigrants are the people who migrated to America, while the second-generation Irish are born in America. 19 F reeman, In Transit, 26. 20 D avid M. Reimers, "Overview: An End and a Beginning," in The New York Irish, ed. Ronald H. Bayor and Timothy J. Meagher (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), 423. 21 F rederick Binder and David M. Reimers, All the Nations Under Heaven: An Ethnic and Racial History of New York City (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 160. 22 E dwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace, Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 1054-1055. 23 J ay P. Dolan, The Irish Americans: A History (New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2008), 222. 24 E velyn Gonzalez, The Bronx (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), 51. 25 F reeman, In Transit, 11. 26 O cynthia Williams, "The Founding of Highbridge and The Early Years 1842-1923," Collective Inspiration (New York: Highbridge Communications Group, 1999), 17. 27 B rian J. Cudahy, A Century of Subways: Celebrating 100 Years of New York's Underground Railways (New York: Fordham University Press, 2003), 38. 28 B rian J. Cudahy, Under the Sidewalks of New York: The Story of the Greatest Subway System in the World (New York: Fordham University Press, 1995), 150. 29 C asey, "'From the East Side to the Seaside,'" 403. 30 J ay P. Dolan, The Irish Americans: A History (New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2008), 221. 31 M cNickle, "Overview," 354. 32 J ay P. Dolan, The Irish Americans: A History (New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2008), 221. 33 R eimers, "Overview," 423. 34 A ncestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002. Original data: United States NYIHR_P22_Feighery_V24_1R.indd 299/12/11 9:18 AM Vol.24, 2010 of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. 35 A s occupations on the 1930 Federal Census are selfreporting, that is, the census record taker wrote down the occupation as it was told to them by the subject, within the area of study there is a large diversity in the occupations listed. In order to be able to draw conclusions from the data, some way of classifying the different self-reported occupations had to be created. To that end, Robert Ernst's work on occupation classification in Immigrant Life in New York City, 1825-1863 was utilized. Ernst attempted to account for the degree of skill required in the various occupations, as well as clarifying ambiguous occupations, and came up with a list of occupational groups and the specific employments that fit in to them. Ernst's list was expanded, edited, and updated to reflect the changes in New York City employment between 1863 and 1930. For the block of West 163rd Street in Highbridge that was the focus of study for this paper, see Figure 3, page 30, for the categories used. 36 M ullan, phone interview by author, July 20, 2009. 37 G inty, phone interview by author, July 29, 2009. 38 J ane Colleen Hannon, "Saints and Patriots: Catholicism in the Bronx, 1920-1940" (PhD diss., University of Notre Dame, 2000), 226. 39 D wyer, "Sonuvagun, if It Isn't Dominion." 40 Q uoted in Miriam Nyhan, "Comparing Irish Migrants and County Associations in New York and London: A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Migrant Experiences and Associational Behavior circa 1946-1961," (PhD diss., European University Institute, 2008), 175. 41 J ohn R. McKivigan & Thomas J. Robertson, "The Irish American Worker in Transitions, 1877-1914: New York City as a Test Case," in The New York Irish , ed. Ronald H. Bayor and Timothy J. Meagher (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), 313. 42 Q uoted in Marion R. Casey, "Ireland, New York, and the Irish Image in American Popular Culture, 1890-1960" (PhD diss., New York University, 1998), 29. 43 McNamara, interview by author, August 11, 2009. 44 H eneghan, phone interview by author, September 11, 2009. 45 M ullan, phone interview by author, July 20, 2009. 46 I bid. 47 I bid. 48 I bid. 49 H annon, "Saints and Patriots," 227. 50 " Catholic Census Lists 20,268,403," New York Times, April 21, 1933, 15 51 F igures 1 is based on data from: Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. Artisan: C arpenter D raftsman Electrician Jeweler Painter Printer Sculptor Building Trades: L abor foreman B usiness Owner: E lectric store owner C ivil Service: P ostman Clerk: A ccountant Copyist F ile Clerk S ecretary S tenographer T elegraph operator T ypist C lothing Worker: D ressmaker F itter M illiner S eamstress Domestic Worker: Chauffeur Housemaid Janitor NursemaidHotel & Boardinghouse Workers: B ell captain Chef Cook Server Waiter Laborer: D airy driver Doorkeeper E levator starter Guard Handyman Laborer Machine operator MilkmanMill workerPorter S tock girl T ruck helper W ire factory employee Maritime Worker: D eck steward S hipping clerk Police & Fire Professional Worker: Accountant Artist Bookkeeper Editor Musician Nurse Statistician Railroad Worker: Cable operator Inspector M otor man R ailroad carpenter S tation master Ticket agent T raffic Man W ire layer Salesman Skilled Worker: Butcher T elephone Workers: I nstaller W ire layer Figure 3 NYIHR_P22_Feighery_V24_1R.indd 309/12/11 9:18 AM Vol.24, 2010 52 McNamara, interview by author, August 11, 2009. 53 Ibid. 54 Ibid. 55 C asey, "'From the East Side to the Seaside,'" 404. 56 G inty, phone interview by author, July 29, 2009. 57 A ncestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. 58 Maureen Waters, Crossing Highbridge: A Memoir of Irish America, (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2001), 32. 59 I bid., 44. 60 K enny, The American Irish, 186. 61 Timothy J. Meagher, Inventing Irish America: Generation, Class, and Ethnic Identity in a New England City, 1880-1928 (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2001), 56; Casey, "From the East Side to the Seaside," 406. 62 Q uoted in Casey, "From the East Side to the Seaside," 406. 63 A "family member" is a sibling, niece, cousin, or inlaw of the head of household while a "boarder" is someone unrelated to the family. Figure 2 is based on data from: Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. 64 S helley, "Twentieth-Century American Catholicism and Irish Americans," 590. 65 J ay P. Dolan, The American Catholic Experience: A History from Colonial Times to the Present (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1992), 322-23. 66 M atthew J. O'Brien, "Irishness in Great Britain and the United States: Transatlantic and cross-channel migration networks and Irish ethnicity, 1920-1990" (PhD diss., University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2001), 385-86. 67 R onald H. Bayor, Neighbors in Conflict: The Irish, Germans, Jews, and Italians of New York City, 1929-1941, 2 nd ed. (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1988), 21. 68 M cNickle, "Overview," 353. 69 B ayor, Neighbors in Conflict, 10. 70 I bid., 10. 71 P aul Heneghan, phone interview by author, September 11, 2009. 72 McNamara, interview by author, August 11, 2009. 73 S hannon, The American Irish, 295. 74 K enny, The American Irish, 227. 75 M eagher, The Columbia Guide to Irish American History , 127. 76 J ohn T. McGreevy, Parish Boundaries: The Catholic Encounter with Race in the Twentieth-Century Urban North (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 80. 77 M cGreevy, Parish Boundaries, 80. 78 R eimers, "Overview," 423. 79 L inda Dowling Almedia, "Irish America, 1940- 2000," in Making the Irish American: History and Heritage of the Irish in the United States , ed. J. J. Lee and Marion Casey (New York: New York University Press, 2006), 550; New York Times , quoted in Binder and Reimers, All the Nations Under Heaven, 260. 80 S nyder, "The Neighborhood Changed," 455. 81 I bid. 82 M ullan, phone interview by author, July 20, 2009. 83 S nyder, "The Neighborhood Changed," 445-6. 84 I bid., 445-6. 85 M cGreevy, Parish Boundaries , 84-85. 86 Tobier, "The Bronx in the Twentieth Century," 81. 87 S teven V. Roberts, "Impact on Old Neighborhoods Worries the City," New York Times, November 25, 1968, 43. 88 I bid. 89 O 'Reilly, "The Story of Sacred Heart and Highbridge," no pagination, photocopy in possession of the author.
NYIHR_P22_Feighery_V24_1R.indd 319/12/11 9:18 AM Vol.24, 2010 90 Ma tthew O'Brien, "'Hibernians on the March:' Irish America and Ethnic Patriotism in the Mid-Twentieth Century," Éire-Ireland 40, no. 1&2: 175. References "Catholic Census Lists 20,268,403." New York Times. April 21, 1933. Allyn, Donald W. A Short Historical Sketch of the High Bridge Neighborhood. New York: New York Public Library, Milstein Division of U.S. History, Local History & Genealogy, 1958. Almedia, Linda Dowling. "Irish America, 1940-2000." In Making the Irish American: History and Heritage of the Irish in the United States, edited by J. J. Lee and Marion Casey, 548-573. New York: New York University Press, 2006. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. 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