"In every community where the demand for cigars was sufficient to warrant, the cigar maker worked and sold his own cigars direct to the consuming public.
Historically, Manhattan's Lower East Side was 14th Street at the northern end, bound on the east by East River and on the west by First Avenue; today, that same area is Alphabet City.
The area's German presence in the early 20th century, in decline, virtually ended after the General Slocum disaster in 1904.
Speaking with the current pastor, Wilfried Wassermann, the story of the church has very much mirrored the waves of German immigration to the United States.
According to the church’s website, “world events affected the history of the parish in a very direct manner.” In addition to the initial wave of immigration in the 1800s, hyperinflation in the 1920s encouraged over 115,000 Germans to emigrate to the United States.
The defeat proved temporary, as in 1859 another New York union was established in response to complaints about the business behavior of one manufacturer named Tom Little.
About 250 cigarmakers were brought into the union before it, too, collapsed in a failed strike 10 months later.On any given day—for lunch or dinner—couples, old-timers, and newcomers, can be found enjoying the unparalleled cuisine and joyful atmosphere, where customers come as strangers and leave as friends.Musicians performing on 86th Street in Yorkville, which was once known as "German Broadway" or "Sauerkraut Boulevard." In those days, it was extremely common to hear German spoken on the streets, and the neighborhood even had its own German newspaper.German internment and other limitations on German-Americans curtailed church activities during World War II but another large wave of German immigration of more than 600,000 came in the boom of the 1950s.Since the 1960s, the makeup of the church congregation has been shifting from immigrants to German expatriates working in New York City on a temporary to long-term basis. Paul’s merged with the Evangelical Church in Germany and opened their service to all Germans living in New York.Right in the middle of New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood is an active remnant of the neighborhood’s immigrant past. Paul’s is the the oldest continually operating German-speaking church in New York City, and continues to be the only Lutheran church where services are held entirely in German. Paul’s will also fittingly be one of the venues for the 2014 Chelsea Music Festival, which begins tonight celebrating German and Brazilian music. 22nd Street dates to 1897, though the church had other locations prior dating back to 1841.