Veteran at WWII monument in Washington D.C. (by Grace O'Malley)
If you’re wondering why flags at government buildings are flying at half mast, it’s because today is the 70th Anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor. The early morning air raid by the Japanese on December 7, 1941 – a day that President Franklin Roosevelt described as one that would live in infamy – ensured America’s entry into World War II.
President Obama has issued the following proclamation: Continue Reading »
(Source: Minnesota Historical Society)
Red Bolognia’s life was only worth a bag of nickels. His cohorts in a 1935 Bensonhurst-area murder, though, may have helped test the limits of capital punishment in New York State, and pushed reform through regarding the age limits of those who could receive the penal system’s most severe punishment.
Continue Reading »
Father Knickerbocker, representing New York City, proposes to Miss Brooklyn (Image provided by Michael Miscione via nurcnews.blogspot.com)
Not everyone was happy about Brooklyn’s consolidation into greater New York City in 1898.
To many newspapers, civic leaders and proud residents, it was ‘the great mistake of ’98′ – when Brooklyn would forever lose its identity as an independent city.
According to Vincent La Marca, Historian Michael Miscione will give a free talk, including great illustrations like the one above, on the struggle to create the five borough behemoth we know today as NYC, on Tuesday, October 25.
The lecture will take place at the New Utrecht Reformed Church’s parish house at 7:30 p.m.
Miscione is the Borough Historian for Manhattan, as well as the producer of a documentary on Brooklyn’s merger with the rest of New York City.
The New Utrecht Reformed Church is located on 18th Avenue between 83rd Street and 84th Street. For more information on the church’s history, please visit Historic New Utrecht.org
If you’ve enjoyed the articles I’ve written on neighborhood architecture, you can check out Sheepshead Bites today, which features a piece with yours truly detailing some of the different architectural styles and ornamentation found in that neck of the woods.
Southern Brooklyn is usually overlooked by the architectural community at large when it comes to all but our most famous historical structures. One of the problems is that many of our older buildings are simply ignored by us.
The long term plan is to document and bring newfound appreciation to the treasures that are our historic buildings and homes – many of which sit right under our noses.
Whenever the subject of cod fish is brought up, I can’t help but think of Massachusetts’ Cape Cod – which is actually not too far off.
Large stocks of Atlantic cod were instrumental in the settling of New England’s – and by extension Long Island’s – coastal fishing villages, including Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay.
Dried and salted cod is known as clipfish or klippfisk in England and Norway, and baccalà, bacalhau or bacalao in Italy, Portugal and Spain.
Beginning in Viking times, it was traded in the markets of Europe, and with the fate of empires dependent on access to its fishing grounds, the humble cod was sometimes compared to gold.
As a nod to the importance of the cod fish, as well as to wonderful technologies like refrigeration that allow even the landlocked access to unsalted seafood, this week Colleen will show you how easy it is cook some nice fresh cod in parchment paper.
Baking fish is a healthy alternative to frying it, and while I’m a sucker for some battered fish and chips, there’s really nothing like the simple act of making your fish dish in the oven with a little lemon and garlic. The results will have you ready for seconds, instead of begging for mercy on behalf of your poor chicken-fried stomach.
Colleen’s Cod In Parchment Paper (aka Cod En Papillote)
(serves one person per packet)
1 piece of parchment paper approximately 15 inches long
1 cod fillet (approximately 6 ounces)
1 tablespoon butter, diced
1 clove of garlic minced
1/8 teaspoon lemon pepper
3 thin slices of lemon, seeds removed
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tablespoon white wine
salt and pepper to taste Click Here To Learn How To Make A Tasty No-Fry Dish With This Healthy Fish
Ephemeral New York has a piece on the mysterious death of one of the most prolific builders of 19th Century Gotham, Calvert Vaux. Vaux met his demise right here in Bensonhurst, in the same body of water another untimely death occurred over the weekend.
Calvert Vaux, who, along with partner Frederick Law Olmstead, had designed both Central Park and Prospect Park, was staying with his son on 20th Avenue between Bath Avenue and Benson Avenue when, on November 21, 1895, newspapers announced the famous architect was missing.
Ephemeral New York (quote from NY Times):
“Mr. Vaux had left in his son’s house a gold watch and chain and his vest. It is believed he had about $2 in change in his pockets.”
Hotels, hospitals, even Prospect Park were all searched. But Vaux was nowhere to be found.
The next day’s paper reported grim news: Vaux’s body was found in Gravesend Bay.
Journalists at the Times speculated that the then 70-rear-old Vaux had simply fallen “off the pier in an attack of dizziness or faintness.”
Vaux’s son did not believe for a second his father had committed suicide and authorities ruled out murder almost immediately.
Captain Ditmar, a local whose pier Vaux had walked out towards, saw Vaux and according to the Times, had even spoken with him.
Today, almost 116 years later, the death remains shrouded in mystery.
Even though the basic design is the same...
there's a lot of diversity in detail, from the types of entrances...
to the details on the facade and the height of the stoops
During the 1920′s, Bensonhurst went from a rural farming community to a medium-density urban neighborhood, almost in the blink of an eye. In their rush to create much-needed housing for the masses of upwardly mobile immigrants beginning to leave Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the builders of our current streetscape did a tremendous, unprecedented job.
The homes they put up, which were often multi-family houses, were designed by anonymous architects, or maybe just an experienced contractor. What’s certain is they were built solidly, with thick retaining walls of layer after layer of brick. They had lower ceilings and usually not many of the architectural embellishments of the earlier Victorian era, but the fact that they still stand today, close to 100 years later, is testament to the quality of their craftsmanship. Click here for more Bensonhurst architecture
As the temperature and humidity continue to creep upwards, here’s something to keep your thoughts cold and crisp.
This photo was taken this past winter at the Bay Parkway Station of the N Train, otherwise known as the Sea Beach Line.
Before it became part of the New York City Subway, the New York and Sea Beach Railroad was an excursion train line used to bring day-trippers down to Coney Island. It began service on July 18, 1877.
A catty corner view of Villabate Alba Pastry Shop at 7001 18th Avenue- you can see how shadows emphasize the building's architectural details
Have you ever noticed the crown molding that runs along the sides and tops of older buildings? It’s called a cornice and it was all the rage around the turn of the last century, when many of the oldest remaining buildings in Bensonhurst were constructed.
While the decorative elements of a cornice can be beautiful, there is a functional side as well. It’s main purpose is to send water away from the building’s facade. A cornice also provides shade from the sun, helps highlight architectural details with its shadows and hides gutters and drainpipes along the ledge of a flat roof.
I was passing by Villabate Alba Pastry Shop and suddenly had more than sfogliatelle on the brain. Continue Reading »
Just a reminder to all you freedom freaks out there – Friends of Historic New Utrecht, the New Utrecht Liberty Pole Association and New Utrecht Reformed Church will be hosting Liberty Weekend at the New Utrecht Reformed Church this coming Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5, 2011.
Continue Reading »