Friday, March 25, 2011

☞ REMEMBER: Bernheimer & Schwartz circa 1905

A rare old illustration from around the turn of the last century shows Manhattanville's Bernheimer & Schwartz Brewery building as it stood in full capacity on the blocks between West 127th and 128th Street over on Amsterdam Avenue. What's fascinating about the surrounding block are the stables which remain intact in various sections on the 128th Street side of the building (last photo).  The brewery was apparently also a major distributor and thus the horse stables on both sides of the street would have made sense.

In the current image, note that the north side of the street has been reconstructed into part of a bus depot while the south side of the street has some of low buildings still in place (the one at the far left currently houses a modern lounge space inside). Manhattanville's old stables are quickly being demolished and this last remaining portion would definitely be an interesting adaptive reuse block for those with a creative mind.  The low areas of the neighborhood always reminded us of far West Chelsea where galleries have taken over the garages and stables in that part of town.

So what ever happen to Mr. Bernheimer and Mr. Schwartz?  Looking back at an old New York Times article from 1911, it appears that the beer barons made their exits in a dramatic fashion before the factory would shut down during the Prohibition years of the 1920's. The unmarried Simon Bernheimer was part of a wealthy brewing dynasty but six years after his Harlem factory opened, he died of a stroke at the age of 62 while taking the opportunity to play the bass drums at a social event. Bernheimer's  partner Anton Scwhartz evidently committed suicide the year before after the untimely death of his 24-year-old-son. More details in the Times from 1911: LINK.


  1. What an incredible building. So how much exactly is left of it? Again, a real shame that it has been whittled down over the years. The poster reminds me a little of Battersea power station in London. Amazingly that place is still standing, but sadly historic buildings in Harlem always seems to fall by the wayside.

  2. The main building is intact and in use as can be seen in the middle photo.
    Only the low level stables on the 128th side (far left of top illustration) have a section missing. The block north from 128th though 129th (at right corner of illustration) is where the bus depot garage sits today and those detached stable buildings were gone long ago.

  3. Interesting! I wonder if Mr. Bernheimer is connected to the Bernheimer Building that the Conway is in at 116th and Lenox.

  4. The building next to the poultry market was also a stable and was in use as such in the early/middle 50's.

  5. Thanks for this webpage. As you know, many of the brewery families intermarried. Anton Schwartz's daughter married my great-granduncle, George Ehret Ruppert, son of brewer Jacob Ruppert, Sr. My great-grandaunt, Emma Josephine Schwartz-Ruppert was a wonderful lady whose youth was beset by the tragedies you mention plus others (Anton's mother also committeed suicide). I visit them all every Nov. 1 and Easter at the Schwartz mausoleum at Woodlawn. Mrs. Anton Schwartz, nee Emma Kleiner, was Josephine Kleiner Schmid (Mrs. August Schmid, of the Lion Brewery. She was also the godmother to congressman and brewers' attorney, Ashbel P. Fitch.

    K. Jacob Ruppert
    New York/New Orleans