Vitagraph Studios

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Before the film industry emerged supreme in Hollywood, Vitagraph was the first Motion Picture Production Company in the United States. It was founded by J. Stuart Blackton and Albert E. Smith in 1897. They enjoyed much success. In 1906, a giant studio was built on East 14th St. and Locust Ave. in Brooklyn, NY, in the area known as Midwood.

After creating a long legacy in film and animation, the studio was sadly demolished in 2015, but the famous Smokestack with the Vitagraph Logo still stands. An online petition is in effect to make it a landmark. I believe it deserves to be. Brooklyn is fast losing its classic, gilded age identity.

Save Vitagraph History Facebook Page

Read an article about the demolition with some history of the studio:

Vitagraph Studios, An Early Pioneer of the Film Industry, Is Being Demolished in Midwood Brooklyn

Watch a short Youtube Documentary:

A Brief History of the Vitagraph Studios – A short Film from Tony Susnick

Watch a quirky Vitagraph Movie clip: The Thieving Hand

 

NYC railroads the unearthing of an 1830’s Train!

2 years ago I posted a Daily News Article about an urban legend in Brooklyn. A rare 1830’s locomotive was believed hidden behind a wall in the abandoned Atlantic Avenue Tunnel. Turns out the legend was true, but unfortunately, it will have to remain buried in the past.

Read the full article here: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/train-excavation-brooklyn-stopped-due-politics-leaks-article-1.2159106

Brooklyn: A State of mind – 125 original stories from America’s most colorful City.

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Brooklyn: A State of Mind is a terrific book. It features an eclectic smorgasbord of essays, articles, interviews, art and photographs about the most beloved and often misunderstood City in America. Maybe even the world? Unfortunately, most stories are not centered on 19th Century Brooklyn, but there are a smattering of facts, images, and points of interest in different chapters which point to that era.

The consensus of many baby boomers seems to be that Brooklyn had its “heyday” in the early to mid-Twentieth Century. For more on that, read this cool book: When Brooklyn was the world: 1920-1957. A book that cleverly argues that the ‘real’ Brooklyn kinda, sorta, ceased to exist once the suburbs of Jersey and Long Island started popping up.

Brooklyn, A state of mind…boasts stories from actors, novelists, journalists, politicians, photographers, and artists. Their witty, gritty, and fun memories can evoke homesickness and nostalgia in a non-native Brooklynite. Their stories touch on everything from food, big hair, Coney Island, music, gangsters, ethnic communities and culture, children’s games, summer days and nights, wise guys, tough guys, and everyone in between. Memories, whether they are fond or foul, are jammed into each story. I highly recommend it for any Brooklyn lover’s collection.

Brooklyn Historical Society Exhibit: The Union Ferry Company

Union Ferry

Brooklyn Historical Society Exhibit: The Union Ferry Company

A month late with the post, but I wanted to share this article from the New York Daily News. I love the BHS. If only I had more time these days to visit such events and places. I also want to be more diligent on this blog. I forgot how fun the research was. My apologies to followers and readers.

If you’re interested, visit or give them a call and ask about the “Full Steam Ahead: 200 Years of Ferries in Brooklyn” exhibit which started on May 10th. They also have many other fine exhibits listed on the page to explore.

 

 

Oppulent Brooklyn Theater to be reborn in 2015!

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Oppulent Brooklyn Theater to be reborn in 2015!

Like the haunting restoration scene from 2004’s Phantom of the Opera, The Lowe’s Kings Theater will rise from the ruins to showcase Brooklyn talent at its finest. The Theater, which caused a splash in the roaring twenties, was shut down and abandoned after the 1977 blackouts. It became a City Landmark and was pretty much an untouched testament to the splendor that was once Flatbush Avenue. A venue like this smack in the middle of Flatbush Ave. today is sure to enhance the neighborhood in many ways and bring back the glamour and excitement of famous ‘Strip’ once again.

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More cute creative old Business postcards courtesy of the Brooklyn Public Library.

Ephemeral New York

The Brooklyn Public Library has a wonderful digitized collection of late 19th century business cards from hundreds of shops and companies located in the teeming city of Brooklyn.

JVDubernellcard

They’re whimsical and imaginative—and some honor the cold weather while advertising their goods, like J.V. Dubernell, tailor.

His shop was at 331 and 333 Fulton Avenue, and his suits sound kind of expensive for the era.

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That’s some sled illustrated in this card, for this clothing store, which comes off like the L.L. Bean of the time. Check out these prices for trendy wool cloaks!

Amespaintdealercard

This sweet scene advertises the business of a paint dealer. Sumpter Street is in today’s Bedford-Stuyvesant, quite a bit away from the other businesses, which are located closer to downtown Brooklyn in what was the fashionable shopping area of the time.

Perhaps a paint store was not welcome on refined Fulton Street?

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