Brooklyn Today for March 20

Good morning. Today is the 79th day of the year. On this day in 1900, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that an “aged Hebrew” named Moses Kramer had come to a police station in Williamsburg and asked to be admitted to a home for the destitute. Kramer attributed his poverty to the fact that he had testified in 1872 against peddler Pesach Rubenstein, who had fatally slashed a young woman whom he may have been trying to force into prostitution. Soon after Rubenstein cheated the hangman by committing suicide, Kramer lost his job. He traveled throughout the country, but the fact that he had testified against a “fellow Hebrew” followed him, and he was unable to find work, he told police.

Well-known people who were born today include Brooklyn-raised movie producer, actor and director Spike Lee (“She’s Gotta Have It,” “Do the Right Thing,” “Malcolm X”), former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Hall of Fame hockey player Bobby Orr, actor Carl Reiner (“The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Your Show of Shows”) and basketball coach Pat Riley.