In the early 20th Century, New York City had an enormous population of German gentiles, such as Babe Ruth’s popular sidekick on the New York Yankees baseball team, Lou Gehrig, who was a Manhattanite born and bred:
Gehrig was born in 1903 at 309 East 94th Street in the Yorkville neighborhood of Manhattan; he weighed almost 14 pounds (6.4 kg) at birth. He was the second of four children of German immigrants, Christina Foch (1881–1954) and Heinrich Gehrig (1867–1946). His father was a sheet-metal worker by trade who was frequently unemployed due to alcoholism, and his mother, a maid, was the main breadwinner and disciplinarian in the family. His two sisters died at an early age from whooping cough and measles; a brother also died in infancy. From an early age, Gehrig helped his mother with work, doing tasks such as folding laundry and picking up supplies from the local stores. Gehrig spoke German during his childhood. In 1910, he lived with his parents at 2266 Amsterdam Avenue in Washington Heights. In 1920, the family resided on 8th Avenue in Manhattan. His name was often anglicized to Henry Louis Gehrig …
What happened to them?
One half-German New Yorker moved to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and another changed his name to something Italian and moved into the mayor’s mansion. But what happened to the concept of German New Yorkers?
A reader sends a 2003 NYT article:
The Germans Came; Now They Are Us; An Ethnic Queens Neighborhood Is Melting Away Into America
By JOSEPH BERGER OCT. 25, 2003
… There is another factor in this melding of identity. Despite the passage of more than five decades, some German-American residents in Ridgewood say that the stigma of two world wars endures and that as a result, many are content to blend into an all-purpose Americanism. In New York City, with its large population of Jews, the issue is even more sensitive.
”To this very day, both wars have caused people of Germanic background to pull their horns back and really not talk about it all that much,” said Paul Kerzner, counsel to the Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association and a fourth-generation German-American.
For example, Fred Trump sometimes claimed to be of Swedish descent because of the ethnic animus of his huge number of Jewish tenants.