Feltman Mausoleum

The archangel Michael, sword at the ready, tops the domed cupola of Charles Feltman’s temple mausoleum. Corinthian columns, cherubs, statuary, urns, you name it, the Feltman mausoleum could easily serve as a primer for any student of classical architecture. Most municipalities would be happy to have a building as ornate as this to decorate their town square, but this building serves to celebrate just one man.

Feltman, a pie maker/baker, had a push cart on New York’s Coney Island. The pies he was selling weren’t doing so well and he just couldn’t seem to compete with the inns on Coney Island that were selling hot dishes. Feltman pondered long and hard and thought back to his youth. He remembered a long, slightly curved sausage, known as a dachshund sausage, that the butcher’s guild in Frankfurt, Germany, had popularized. A light bulb went off in his head and he abandoned the pie business and concentrated on selling frankfurter sandwiches. His cart was quite small and he only had room for his little frankfurter sandwich and two condiments, mustard and sauerkraut. His simple idea was an instant success and shortly thereafter he opened Feltman’s German Beer Garden, complete with carousel where he continued to sell his money making sausages.

Feltman wasn’t the only person immortalized in American folklore because of these slender little sausages. In 1913, Feltman hired Nathan Handwerker to help him, for the princely sum of $11.00/week. A few years down the road, two frankfurter aficionados, Jimmy Durante and Eddie Condon, irritated that Feltman had raised his price to 10 cents, convinced Nathan to open his own operation and sell them for 5 cents. Nathan promoted his frankfurters (made to his wife Ida’s recipe) by offering them free to any of the doctors at the nearby Coney Island Hospital on the condition that the docs ate them while standing next to his stand in their hospital whites and wearing their stethoscopes. Another triumph for capitalism and for Nathan whose frankfurters and other meat products continue to thrive to this day.

And then there is the story of Harry Stevens, who was a concessionaire at New York baseball games. Supposedly his vendors would call out, “Get your red-hot dachshund sausages!” and…..well, you figure out the rest.
Text and photo © Douglas Keister Visit Doug’s Author Page

[address cemetery=”Green-Wood Cemetery” street=”Willow Avenue” city=”Brooklyn” state=”New York” zip=”11218″]

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