Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Good morning. Today is the 190th day of the year. On this day in 1902, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that “Pool Rooms Flourish in Full View of Police Station.” In 1902, a “pool room” didn’t mean a place where one played billiards. It basically meant an illegal off-track betting parlor. While waiting for the race results, patrons played billiards, and eventually the words “poolroom” and “pool” attained their present-day meanings.
The police station in question was the 54th Precinct House at Ralph Avenue and Quincy Street, Bedford-Stuyvesant. The Eagle was challenging the local police captain’s assertion that no poolrooms operated in his district. The article described one such establishment, which was located above a saloon. The clients, described as mainly trolley conductors and motormen along with a few local doctors, waited for the telephone to bring news of results at the Brighton Beach racetrack.
Well-known people who were born today include actor Tom Hanks (“Saving Private Ryan,” “Philadelphia,” “Forrest Gump”), Hall of Fame football player and sportscaster O.J. Simpson, actor Jimmy Smits (“L.A. Law,” “NYPD Blue”), U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and actor Richard Roundtree (“Shaft,” “Seven”).