|Grandpa and his sister lived |
around the corner from each other
in the Bronx, NY in 1942
During the early 1940s, these ancestors lived in and around New York City, based on addresses I've researched in the 1940 Census, World War II draft registration cards, and directories. This is where local knowledge of Big Apple customs and resources comes in handy.
Moving Day in the Big Apple
For decades, it was well known in New York City that May 1st was Moving Day (yes, with capital letters). Nearly all rental leases expired as of 9 am on that day. In a city filled with apartment dwellers, families spent the weeks before May 1 talking with new landlords who might be willing to negotiate rents or offer a free month as an incentive to move. Renters also signed contracts to have moving companies lug furniture to the new place on Moving Day.
Why is Moving Day important? Wherever my Big Apple ancestors lived on Census Day (April 1st in 1940), they didn't necessarily live in the same place on or after May 1st! With Moving Day in mind, I wasn't surprised to find my grandfather Isaac's sister Jennie (and other siblings) at one address in the 1940 Census and another address soon afterward.
Jennie Moves Around the Corner
In 1940, Jennie Birk Salkowitz (1890-1972) and her husband Paul Salkowitz (1889-1957) lived as boarders with another family in the same giant Bronx apartment building as my grandpa Isaac Burk and his wife, Henrietta Mahler Burk (1881-1954). The address was 3044 Valentine Avenue, a short walk from the most elegant street in the Bronx, the Grand Concourse.
By spring of 1941, Jennie and Paul had moved to a new address around the corner (literally) from Isaac, at 276 East 203d Street in the Bronx. I can be fairly sure of the timing, because the 203d Street address is on Paul's WWII draft registration card, dated April of 1942. With Moving Day on May 1 of every year, Paul and Jennie had to have moved to the new address during May of 1941.
As shown on the map at top, Isaac and Jennie lived only a two minute walk from each other, suggesting a good relationship between brother and sister (and confirmed by other evidence).
My next step was to see what this new residence looked like. Again, local knowledge helped me in my quest! More in Part 2.