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Little-Known Brooklyn Residents: Dorothy and Richard Minnich

Jul 12, 2010 11:07 AM | 0 comments

Living in New York, we are accustomed to living in very close proximity with our neighbors, sometimes hearing more than we'd like to from the people living around us. I've been known to complain about my noisy upstairs neighbors, but after discovering Mr. and Mrs. Minnich's pastime, perhaps I have little to complain about.

The Minnich's rescued organ, complete with built in bar

In 1953, Dorothy and Richard Minnich rescued a 1,500 pound pipe organ from a mortuary chapel in Manhattan, and reinstalled it within the living room of their 3 1/2 room apartment in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The organ -- consisting of 341 pipes, a sounding box, an air pump, switch panel and a console -- squeezed into their 11 x 19 foot living room, still allowing room for two davenports, tables, a chair and "a little room for dancing."

Richard Minnich playing happy tunes on the organ

Dorothy Minnich told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that the mortuary "played sad music on it for 12 years, and now Richard will only play happy music on it. Why? Well, Richard likes to think that there will be a movement to pop concerts of organ music. He calls it an entrancing whisper of wind." The Brooklyn Daily Eagle did not report, however, on the response of their immediate neighbors at 25 Oliver Street. Perhaps the happy tunes that resonated from the organ diminished neighbor complaints.