1900’s Family History

My great-grandfather and great-grandmother on my mother’s side of the family were mentioned in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle for an engagement and wedding announcement between the years 1911 and 1912.

I believe it was common in that era to run ads for special announcements like this. Particularly if you had a higher standing in society. Newspapers in the past often posted the address of the people mentioned in their articles. Unfortunately today that’d be an extremely dangerous thing to do.

If your family has roots in Brooklyn going back between the publication years of 1841 – 1955, use the search engine on the The Brooklyn Newsstand Archive  to type in names and events. You may find your ancestors mentioned. It’s a fun and educational resource provided by the Brooklyn Public Library for history buffs, writers, bloggers, and anyone who wants to know the newsworthy events, lifestyles, and interests of Brooklynites during the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century.

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I wanna get back to Brooklyn

A little off topic for the blog since it’s not Gilded Age Brooklyn, but nonetheless, I love finding little bits of history from different eras, especially adorable songs like this that have “Brooklyn” in the lyrics.

I’m always nostalgic for a Brooklyn that belonged to my parents, grandparents, great grandparents and great, great grandparents!

From the blog Brooklyn Butch 

You can also join in Facebook Discussions with Brooklyn Butch for Pre-1960 Brooklyn Nostalgia! 

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

 

The Bowery Boys Podcasts

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(Image from The Bowery Boys: New York City History website. I adore this photo of them! Hope they don’t mind that I linked it. O_O)

I love the idea of podcasts, but the reality is I never seem to find time to listen as I’d like to. But the one that has me tuning in is The Bowery Boys, a podcast all about old New York hosted by two cute guys, Greg Young and Tom Meyers. I’m a new (ish) fan, but The Bowery Boys have podcasts going back 9 years and counting!

I have a ton of catching up to do! They’re are active on Facebook – Adventures of Old New York. They’ve given online interviews, been featured in all sorts of media and make frequent appearances around New York to share their knowledge of its rich history. Once this massive heat wave is over, I’ll have to attend one.

Mr. Young and Mr. Meyers have thoughtfully created a Podcast archive for fans and history buffs. They offer various ways to listen and they are available on iTunes.

Be sure to bookmark this page!

Every Bowery Boys Podcast in Chronological order by subject

I’m happy to note they’ve released their first History Book in June 2016 available in Print and on Kindle –

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I find the Bowery Boys Podcasts factual, insightful, and fun. The guys are witty and funny without being raucous or annoying. You can tell they have a deep knowledge and love for the topics they discuss. I also admire that they keep their broadcasts fairly clean and profanity free, even when discussing the most shocking scandals from back in the Golden age.

Keep it classy guys!! You’re awesome!

I enjoy how they set the stage with subtle and meaningful background music and I’m drawn into the air of mystery they create when discussing the strange tales of the past. The imagination ignites. Those are my favorite kinds of stories – missing persons, crimes, cons, and all the intrigue that Old New York has to offer.

Two juicy ones that come to mind are “The curious case of Typhoid Mary” and “The disappearance of Dorothy Arnold”

Settle down, grab a snack, do some knitting, or just lay back and close your eyes and let the Bowery Boys transport you to the past.

The gaudy elephant hotel of 1880s Coney Island

I love finding articles on old Coney Island, and it’s the perfect time of year for it. The over-a-century old Brooklyn hotspot is constantly being reinvented, despite catastrophic fire damages in the past, and the economy turning on a dime. And recent natural disasters like hurricane Sandy.
With the way the crowds are packing in this summer, it’s experiencing yet another Renaissance.

Ephemeral New York

When Coney Island went from remote sandbar resort to the city’s biggest beachfront playground in the 1880s, tawdry amusement attractions began to pop up on the West End: beer halls, roller coasters, and freak shows.

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But perhaps the gaudiest addition was the Elephantine Colossus, a nearly 200-foot tall hotel sheathed in blue tin and with a gilded howdah on top.

Encircled by the Shaw Channel Chute roller coaster, the hotel looked like a bizarro version of one of the live pachyderms on exhibit at Coney Island’s amusement parks at the turn of the century.

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Completed in 1885 at Surf Avenue and West 12th Street, the 12-story elephant was divided into 31 rooms. Visitors could also climb to the observatory and pay 10 cents to get an incredible aerial view of New York City by looking through the elephant’s eyes, which were actually telescopes.

Elephanthotelrollercoaster“The forelegs contained a cigar store…

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Getting out of the water at Rockaway Beach

I’m all for modest swimwear, I particularly love the 40’s and 50’s styles, but I often wondered what the drowning casualty rate was during that era thanks to these heavy suits and stockings!

Ephemeral New York

Coney Island may be New York’s favorite seaside playground, but at the turn of the century (and for many decades afterward), Rockaway Beach rivaled Coney as the city’s premier beach destination.

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This 1907 postcard, from the Museum of the City of New York’s digital collection, shows us unspoiled sand, tents and hotels for guests, and a young girl in bathing attire that looks extremely uncomfortable by today’s standards.

Rockaway has been rediscovered again, supposedly by hipsters and surfers—but it’s doubtful that anyone will venture into the water in black tights.

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Glowing beauty of the Brooklyn Bridge at night

I love paintings like this! It would be a beautiful print to have on the wall.

Ephemeral New York

Now this is enchantment: the globes of light from the bridge deck, the boat lights illuminating the East River, the twinkling skyline of lower Manhattan.

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“This view shows the well known Brooklyn Bridge in the foreground, and the most prominent of New York’s skyscrapers in the distance,” reads the back of this postcard.

“This scene is probably more familiar than any other to the multitude of people living in Greater New York.”

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