DANNENHOFFER’S OPALESCENT, Bushwick

by Kevin Walsh

Now, that’s a mouthful. Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when I was canvassing neighborhoods for Forgotten New York, I “reconnected” with a painted ad for Dannenhoffer Opalescent at #336 Himrod Street, between Wyckoff and Irving Avenues in Bushwick near the undefended border of Ridgewood, Queens. I say “reconnected” because I had been aware of the painted ad from bicycle trips to Ridgewood either from Bay Ridge (before 1993) or Flushing (after 1993). The ad survived simply because its paint had stood up to decades of sun bleaching on the red bricks. The ancient factory was built next to the now-vanished Long Island Rail Road Evergreen Branch, which still made a few freight runs up until a few decades ago.

Here’s the building the way it looked in 2000 when I got this shot. The brick factory building had been mostly bricked up and abandoned.

In 2016 the old brick factory was rehabilitated and, in a nod to history, its old painted sign was actually repainted. On either side, more modern-looking buildings arose as part of the Bushwick Glassworks development.

The glassworks has a very lengthy pedigree as the indefatigable Montrose Morris of Brownstoner discovered:

The founder of the glassworks was John Dannenhoffer, who came to New York as an adult from what was at the time the German province of Lorraine. He and his brother Nicholas came here during the Civil War and after landing in New York were not able to find work. They sailed upstate to Albany and worked on a farm until the war’s end. Returning to NYC, Dannenhoffer took employment in a glass factory, a trade he had learned in Germany. He and his brother and a third man soon opened their own glass company. By 1871 Dannenhoffer and partners had established the Williamsburg Flint Glass Company in Brooklyn…

Much more at the link! Opalescent moved out in the 1920s, so the painted sign had been there for a good 8 decades at least, before I found it.

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”

1/13/21

1 comment

Tal Barzilai January 14, 2021 - 6:06 pm

I’m actually surprised that they repainted what is on that building, because usually when they are rehabilitated, this is removed completely as if it was never there.

Reply

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