(ABOVE: “Haying In Brooklyn Borough” shows farmers haying in the foreground while a row of new brownstones interlope in the background.) In July of 1900, an intrepid Brooklyn Daily Eagle reporter took a trip out to the furthest reaches of Brownstone Brooklyn to see where the confluence of brownstones and farm horses collided. What he found made great copy. And it showed a more rustic world that had very recently existed in Stuyvesant Heights and other sections of the Eastern District (before houses were built there). The rural district that he trekked was the one that we now refer to as East New York. As our reporter walked further and further south along Pennsylvania Avenue, he saw a district filled with streets and lots as far as the eye could see – which ran in this manner all the way down to Jamaica Bay. Those streets and lots, though, were not filled with shiny streetcars or lined with austere limestone houses. They were still very productive farmland with very productive horses and farmers. “Cattle grazing under the eaves of brownstone fronts, corn growing from the cracks between the blocks of a stone pavement or herd grass being cut from city lots and running a ton and a half to the acre, scenes that possess a considerable degree of incongruity and might well be deemed imaginative until one has walked down Pennsylvania avenue of this borough.” This was where he began to leave civilization and saw farms fighting with brownstone lots […]
As the snow piled up during the Blizzard of 1888, Brooklynites began to experience countless fights. Snowball fights, that is. Most were lighthearted and fun, romps in the snow bringing joy and relief from the endless shoveling and the stress of everyday life with the white stuff. But sometimes these snowball fights turned ugly, exposing the more unsavory side of Brooklynites. They showed how quickly a snowball fight could evolve from a joyful game into mayhem-filled terror. Two cases, in particular, made the pages of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle during the week of the historic blizzard. One involved a razor. The second involved a gun. THE RAZOR The day after the “Great White Hurricane” struck Brooklyn, Vincent Ciemon was a very tired man. He had reason to be after a long day of shoveling snow following the first full day of the Blizzard of 1888. He had just been employed by the Long Island Railroad Company as that organization needed day laborers to help dig out their engines in the city and beyond. On his way home around 5 p.m., to the apartment where he lived with his family on East New York Avenue in Brownsville, Ciemon had just reached Rockaway Avenue “when a snowball struck him in the back.” Ciemon, identified by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in the story as “The Italian,” had only a hundred or so feet before he arrived home and so, tired as he was, he did not even turn around to challenge his tormentors. […]
Highland Park Slope was the ritzy name that the realtors in the Arlington Avenue section of East New York were starting to call their piece of real estate just south of the Newtown in the 2d Ward of Queens around 1900. The name never really caught on – perhaps it was too similar to Park Slope. Today the neighborhood is known as Highland Park and the greater area has taken the moniker of its northern cemetery neighbor – Cypress Hills. Today, Sunnyside Avenue runs east-west just south of the Jackie Robinson and the maze of cemeteries. Follow @BrownstoneDetec ———————————————————————————————————————– The Brownstone Detectives This story was composed from research performed by The Brownstone Detectives. Let us do an in-depth investigation of your house and its former owners and produce your very own House History Book. Your hardbound coffee table book will include an illustrated and colorful narrative timeline that will bring the history of your house to life. Contact us today.