WHEN Lillian Jacobs was 2, in 1911 or ’12, her family moved from the Lower East Side into a tenement building on East 84th Street, just off York Avenue, then known as Avenue A. Her parents ran a candy store on the building’s ground floor, catering to the newly arrived immigrants from Germany, Hungary, Austria and Ireland.
People came and went over the years; apartment houses were built and tradesmen’s shops disappeared, along with the family candy store. But the character of the area, and specifically this part of East 84th Street, has largely remained the same. The brownstones, built at the turn of the 20th century and flanked by trees planted in more recent years, have stayed true to the block.We don't know whether William was trying to evangelize among the new immigrants, or was serving those good Presbyterians who'd moved from points south, trying to keep ahead of the influx of immigrants.