This weekend, Pope Benedict XVI (we call him "the one-six" around the office) visited a church in Yorkville, the neighborhood in Manhattan where I live. It was a great day for Yorkville. There was a crapload of firepower in the neighborhood, and a few of the Irish bars were packed with patrons honoring his Holiness’ visit by getting even more shit-faced than usual.
Yorkville is an old German neighborhood, so it’s fitting that Benedict would stop by. In the early 1900’s, the bulk of Manhattan’s German population moved from the Lower East Side to Yorkville. Today it’s been diluted by some Irish and a fair amount of white Anglo’s like me, but there’s an old German church on my block and a genuine beer hall around the corner.
For the Pope’s visit, we decided to do a little reading at the office and discovered that in the ’30s, the neighborhood was filled with people who thought Hitler would really make a wonderful party guest. We also learned that by traveling down 87th St. yesterday (the wrong way, I might add), his Holiness passed within two blocks of 178 E 85th St., which during the 1930’s served as the national headquarters of Fritz Kuhn’s German American Bund, also known as the fun-loving American Nazi Party. So you could say it was almost like a homecoming for his Holiness.
The Contrarian staff on the scene: