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From the Brooklyn Aerie: January 18, 2012

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Did you know that Mariano Rivera, the Yankee “closer,” is the only big-leaguer now allowed to use the number 42 on his uniform. It was Jackie Robinson’s number, which was retired in 1997.

 

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When Carroll Gardens became a Landmark District in 1973, only a small fraction of the overall Carroll Gardens area was included, i.e. just a few blocks and less than 150 buildings.
 
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Since the Civil War, when the first burials were made on Hart Island, New York’s Potter’s Field, more than an estimated 750,000 burials have been recorded there.
 
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During the American Revolution an estimated two-thirds of Brooklyn’s population — a higher percentage than anywhere else in the New York area — were Tories. One factor in their loyalty to England was that Brooklyn merchants had extensive trade with Europe and they felt British ships would better protect the goods they sent across the Atlantic.
 
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In the 19th century, when baseball in Brooklyn was played by amateurs, the teams devoted as much time to social events as they did to actually playing games. Arranging games was usually done by mail, and what the winning teams got as a reward was the possession of the ball used in the game.
 
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The first European killed in Brooklyn was a sailor on Henry Hudson’s Half Moon named John Coleman who led a shore party that landed on what is now Coney Island. An altercation developed with some Lenape Indians and Coleman died after he was shot in the throat with an arrow.
 
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If anyone asks you how long the 5-cent subway fare lasted, you can give them the answer — until 1947. At that time it was raised to ten cents.
 
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According to the Al Jolson Society of New York, the first time Al Jolson put on “black face” for a performance was in a Brooklyn vaudeville theater.
 
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Some literary critics have suggested that in choosing Leaves of Grass as the title for his poetry book Walt Whitman was being facetious. They say that in the 19th century publishing world, “leaves” referred to mediocre, run-of-the-mill books and “grass” was the word used for the pages in such books.
 
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Did you know that the U.S. Navy’s flagship in the crushing defeat of the Spanish fleet in Cuba’s Santiago Bay in the Spanish-American War in 1898 was the USS Brooklyn?
 
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In its heyday the St. George Hotel in Brooklyn Heights could boast of having not only the largest indoor saltwater pool in the world, but also the largest hotel ballroom in the world. Called the Colorama Ballroom because it could change the color of its lights to create different moods, it was advertised as featuring “Electricity’s Newest Magic.”
 
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No strong man performing at Coney Island was stronger than Joseph Greenstein, “The Mighty Atom.” Although diminutive in size (he was only 5 feet 6), he could bite nails in half with his teeth, drive nails into 2-inch wood with the palm of his hand, and at the age of 80, with steel chains tight across his upper body, break their links just by expanding his chest.
January 18, 2012 - 1:05pm


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