A Weekly Column of Trivia and Observations By David Ansel Weiss
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
It’s hard to explain to people who do not already know, that New York’s famous egg cream contains neither eggs nor cream.
There are two famous Brooklynites with the name of Kaminsky who made good in the entertainment field. One was Danny Kaye, born with the name Daniel Kaminsky. The other was Mel Brooks, whose original name was Melvin Kaminsky.
In the early 1950s, workers who had been employed by the Brooklyn Navy Yard during World War II sued the U.S. Government for compensation because they had worked under conditions where they were exposed to asbestos.
Yes, it’s true, there was a church in Carroll Gardens built in the shape of a lighthouse. It was the Catholic Seamen’s Institute, constructed in 1943 when the area bustled with maritime activity, and built as “a moral beacon… a challenge of the church to the barrooms of the river front.”
Walt Whitman’s famous poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” had another title — “Sun-Down Poem” — when it was first published in 1856 in the second edition of Leaves of Grass.
Did you know that scorched pieces of paper from the burning Twin Towers on 9/11 reached as far south in Brooklyn as Carroll Gardens?
The first lecture given by the Irish poet William Butler Yeats when he visited America was before a meeting of the women-only Mrs. Fields Literary Society in Brooklyn Heights.
If anyone ever asks you how many cable car systems Brooklyn had in its history, you can tell them two. One ran across the Brooklyn Bridge, the other down Montague Street to the waterfront.
Added to the many accomplishments of Henry Ward Beecher is that in 1855 he wrote and published America’s first church hymnal, one that became a standard in the field. Its official title: “The Plymouth Collection of Hymns and Tunes To Be Used In Congregational Churches.”
The original members of the elite Crescent Athletic Club were Ivy League graduates who played football in Prospect Park, and played exhibition games with teams from Princeton and Yale.
As late as the late 19th century most streets in Brooklyn were still unpaved.
Does anyone know what happened to the original flagpole in Ebbets Field? The company that tore down Ebbets donated it to the Canarsie Casket Company, which installed it in front of its building in Flatlands, but in 2007 that building was torn down to make room for a church, and no one seems to know for sure what happened to the flagpole.