Da Fountain of Yout’ / La Fuente de la Abuela

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

BELOW IS A photo of my paternal grandmother taken about 100 years ago. Thanks to the partially readable inscription etched in the base, I was able to track down the location.

Called Schiff Fountain, it’s in Seward Park on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. It was originally located further south and around the corner in the park, but was moved to its current spot in 1936. Installed around 1895, it was very grand, with bronze basins and ornamentation. The elegance didn’t last. It was regularly clogged with trash, and fell into disrepair. You can see in the video at bottom from 1903,that it was being used as a public pool and bath (sounds like our new neighborhood fountain… click here).

There’s been a drive in recent years to restore the fountain to its original glory. I had hoped to subway over (but I didn’t have time) to imagine my grandmother sitting there all those years ago. My grandparents lived nearby before moving to Brooklyn in the early 1920s and many of my photographs of them were taken around the Lower East Side. If you’re interested in a more detailed history of Seward Park, click here.


ABAJO ESTÁ UNA foto de mi abuela paterna tomada hace unos 100 años. Gracias a la inscripción parcialmente legible grabada en la base, pude rastrear la ubicación.

Llamada Fuente de Schiff, se encuentra en Seward Park, en el Lower East Side de Manhattan. Originalmente se encontraba más al sur y a la vuelta de la esquina del parque, pero se mudó a su ubicación actual en 1936. Instalado alrededor de 1895, fue muy grandioso, con cuencas de bronce y ornamentación. La elegancia no duró. Estaba regularmente atascada con basura, y cayó en mal estado. Puedes ver en el video en la parte inferior que de 1903, se estaba utilizando como piscina y baño público (suena como la nueva fuente de nuestro barrio … haz clic aquí).

En los últimos años ha habido un impulso para restaurar la fuente a su gloria original. Tenía la esperanza de ir en metro (pero no tuve tiempo) para imaginar a mi abuela sentada allí hace tantos años. Mis abuelos vivían cerca antes de mudarse a Brooklyn a principios de la década de 1920 y muchas de mis fotografías de ellos fueron tomadas en el vecindario. Si estás interesado en una historia más detallada de Seward Park, haz clic aquí.

Exodus 17:6, “… and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink.”
Éxodo 17:6, “… y saldrá agua de ella, para que la gente pueda beber”.
In the beginning. / Al principio.
In the 1980s. / En la década de 1980.
And recently. Grandma! / Y recientemente. ¡Abuela!

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

16 thoughts on “Da Fountain of Yout’ / La Fuente de la Abuela”

  1. Wow! That abuela of yours has broken the space time contineum (I don’t know what that is, let alone how to spell it). Your family is so special.

    1. Deedles:
      Jerry has a cousin in Norway who uses the word “special” when she’s describing a family member and doesn’t want to say “He’s nuts!”

    1. David:
      You’re so right (with THIS past, at least). I won’t let the opportunity pass next time.

    1. Debra:
      This grandmother was very stylish when she was young. I’ve never seen photos of my other grandmother before she was married. I don’t think she was ever a stylish socializer, but would love to see what there is. Unfortunately, those in the family with photos have never shared.

  2. I love the old photos,especially when connected with today.Glad you found the fountain and hope you can see it next trip!

  3. I love the notion of visiting places where the ancestors once visited.
    People forget that most of our memories happen in places still going; they are there after we depart.

    1. Urspo:
      I had also recently discovered that my maternal grandfather first lived in mid-town Manhattan… and the building’s still there. I walked right by and forgot to look. Next time.

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