The turnover of residents was dizzying. In 1870 Samuel S. Berck, who operated two hat stores on Eighth Avenue moved in. Sarah McCoy, the widow of Alexander McCoy, shared the house with the Berck family. She was either a boarder or, possibly, Mrs. Berck's mother. In 1873 another hatter, Philip Lasky, moved in with his family's boarder, clerk Jacob Baum.
That owner may have been Anthony Reiss, Jr., for he held title to the house by March 1876. Born on May 11, 1830 his father, Anthony Reiss, Sr. was among the group of musicians who formed the New York Philharmonic and was elected its first vice president.
Anthony Jr. studied violin and piano as a youth, and his first job was with the orchestra that traveled with singer Jenny Lind in her New York concerts. By the time he purchased the 18th Street house he had led the orchestras of several theaters and had been musical director of the Lyster English Opera Company, Maguire's Italian Opera Company and the Clara Kellogg Opera Company, among others.
Reiff sold No. 317 to Moses Dunlap and his wife, Anna, in 1889 for $12,500, or about $351,000 in today's money. It appears that it was the Dunlaps who updated the house--giving it cast metal lintels, heavy Mission style entrance doors, and a swirling cast iron transom grill that hinted at Art Nouveau.
|The renovations left the original, pencil-thin side columns on their waist-high bases. Note the doorbell pull to the left. It was originally polished to a gleam.|
Moses and Anna M. Dunlap, too, moved on quickly. The offered the house for sale in 1893, describing it as a "cosy home in the best repair and on a fine street."
A renovation completed in 1977 resulted in a duplex in the lower two floors, and two apartments each on the upper floors. A second remodeling resulted in a single family home with an apartment on the third floor.
photographs by the author