New York Daily Photo Analytics

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rosenwach Wood Tanks

On my recent visit to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, while circumambulating the neighborhood, a sign jumped out from the corner of my eye: Rosenwach Wood Tanks. I realized that this must be the very same manufacturer of wooden water tanks I wrote about in a story Tank Worship, one of only two companies in New York City that manufactures wood water tanks - see the September 15, 2006 article here.
I nearly shrieked to my companion who was driving and asked to please indulge me, circle the block so that I might be able to verify it this was the place, and if so, I could perhaps go inside and do some photography.
'Twas done in a jiffy, however, upon arrival at the Wythe Avenue entrance, something looked amiss. Charred, blackened wood was everywhere and areas were secured with safety tape. Yes, a man confirmed that this was that company. However, coincidentally, I had arrived only some days after a major fire. The two-alarm fire occurred on the 4th of July - the Fire Department of New York said the cause of the fire was illegal fireworks. The gentleman in the yard said I was welcome to return at a later date, get a tour and do some photography. However, at that time, fire marshalls were everywhere and it was not the time for a factory tour and photo shoot.
This location at 87 North 9th Street at Wythe Avenue, a former stable, is the wood mill for the company where the planks are prepared using equipment dating back to the 1930s. The tanks themselves are assembled at the customer location.
Rosenwach Tank was started on the Lower East Side in 1866 by barrel maker William Dalton. In 1894, Dalton hired Polish immigrant Harris Rosenwach - the company is currently under the watch of fourth-generation business owner Andy Rosenwach.
I am looking forward to going back and touring the place when the dust clears ...


Beth in NYC said...

I'd heard about that fire and I'm glad they'll be able to return to business once the investigation is completed!

Their tanks are the ones with the carved "R" at the very top, right?

Anonymous said...

This is the same company that was visited by Mike Rowe during a shoot for his "Dirty Jobs" series on the Discovery Channel. Rich history for sure.

Brian Dubé said...

Beth - Very good - you are correct.

Michelle Johnson said...

Hello Brian! Sorry you weren't able to get the photos you wanted. Maybe next time with your tour. Sad that someone torched the place with fireworks. Hope all is well.

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Eric said...

Was going to comment about dirty jobs and someone beat me to the punch. but I'm still commenting anyway. I mean, I came all this way.

I do really love what you are doing with the blog. It helps me realize that I have just barely scratched the surface of all there is to photograph in NYC.

Peter C. said...

There isn't much new worthy of documenting in what's left of New York City, but the former Big Apple is a great place for archaeology.