photograph by the author
Until 1955, two identical brownstone-fronted apartment buildings stood at 109 and 111 East 87th Street. In 1933 musicians Charles Louis Seeger, Jr. and his wife, Constance de Clyver Seeger moved into an apartment in 111 East 87th Street with their 14-year-old son, Peter. Pete Seeger would go on to be one of America’s best known folk singers and social activists.
A virulent anti-German sentiment pervaded the country following World War I. In its February 17, 1947 issue, Life magazine published an article entitled "Peoples of New York." Its description of the German community of Yorkville reflected the still-fresh anti-German sentiment, saying in part, “Dressed in their regional costumes and speaking German, they engage in violent Bavarian folk dances and drink huge quantities of beer…Germans in the city's Yorkville district are fond of uniforms and costumes, and a pro-Nazi Bund flourished before the war.” The pervasive mindset no doubt had much to do with the dilution of the district’s German language, customs, and identity.
Like the side walls, the wall behind the altar was originally unplastered. photograph by Eigenes Werk
Music was an important part of the church’s function within the Yorkville community. On December 5, 1986, for instance, The New York Times reported, “The New England Youth Ensemble and the Atlantic Union College Choir will present the American composer Randall Thompson’s rarely heard ‘Nativity According to St. Luke’—the Christmas story in music, pageant and biblical costume—at the Church of the Advent Hope.” In October 1990 a concert by the New England Youth Ensemble/Collegiate Choir presented “works by Haydn, Handel, Bach, and English composers,” according to New York Magazine.
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