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Historic photographs are one of the highlights of the Brooklyn Collection, and thanks to digitization, are the most easily accessible of our treasures. Thousands of unique Brooklyn photos can be searched and found on the BPL web site. Recently, we've embarked on a project that will make some of these images even more visible, through the photo sharing web site Flickr. Along with other cultural institutions such as the Library of Congress, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Queens and New York Public Library, we've created a Flickr page with a sample of some of our photographic holdings.
Because many of these images are of specific places in Brooklyn, we've added them to Flickr's geomaps. Scrolling through the photos causes pink dots to appear on an interactive map, and clicking on the dot brings up the photo for that location. It's a great way to get to know Brooklyn!
Thanks and kudos to the Brooklyn Public Library Summer Youth Employment Project and the Web Applications department for making this project happen.
Whilst doing research, I discovered an article from March 7, 1938 titled “Everybody Wants Library to Name Baby.” It seems that the Brooklyn Public Library received a “flood of requests for baby names” when the public discovered that the library had a whopping 560,000 names at its disposal. Soon the librarians spent oodles of time looking for names for a “whimsical baby boy with long ears and a penchant for the esthetic” or a “girl, coquettish, second choice of father who wanted boy named Jack.” To manage the demand, the chief librarian insisted that name-finding was only for Brooklynites.
Luckily for parents-to-be, things have changed since 1938. Especially since the 1980s, an abundance of baby name books populate library shelves. Name books are organized by ethnicity, meanings, popularity, celebrity names, and giant dictionaries of virtually every name in existence. A quick catalog search brings up a substantial list of books, providing an overwhelming number of possible names.
To simplify the search, online sites maintain lists of thousands of names (and can be a great way to waste time). The Social Security Administration is an easy way to find out that Jacob and Emma were the number one names for 2008, while John and Mary were number one in 1880. Another site, Baby Name Wizard, uses interactive graphics and maps to show changes in popularity over time and by geographic area. Searching for the name “Brooklyn” reveals that as a girl’s name, it has been steadily increasing in popularity; not so much in New York, but it's a giant hit in Utah. Go Brooklyn!
Today's post comes directly from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle Online, May 29, 1887, p. 6:
Luckily for today's Brooklynite, the restaurant scene has finally emerged from New York's shadow after centuries. I've even heard that Manhattanites travel to Brooklyn to dine out. Web sites like Chowhound, Edible Brooklyn, and BPL's own No Shush Zone spread news and reviews on current cuisine in the borough. Anyone know where to get good fish balls?
For those who don't enjoy reading 19th century newsprint, the article text follows: "Brooklyn can stand three or four more good restaurants," said a pretty high living friend of mine. "There is no reason why we should not have good cooking and good service in the restaurants over here at moderate prices. There are plenty of such places in New York, but here you must either pay extravagant prices or patronize the cheap establishments where the cooking is bad and the service no better. Outside of the chop houses and one or two high priced hotels there is hardly a restaurant in this city where you can get a properly cooked and served meal. The old fashioned slap dash 'we don't serve bread with one fish ball' establishment which abound along some of our principal thoroughfares are no better than so many dyspepsia foundries. A few well conducted restaurants over here where one could be sure of obtaining a meal well cooked and served at a moderate price would pay handsomely. Of course, the chop houses of Brooklyn can not be excelled by those over the river, but suppose you take a lady to the theater. After the play you cannot have supper at a chop house. You must either pay Delmonico prices at a hotel restaurant or go home hungry, unless you wish to be limited to a bill of fare of steaks, chops and oysters. I think hundreds of young and middle aged men in Brooklyn who may not be over burdened with cash will appreciate the point I wish to make."
In these early days of April, watching eagerly for signs of leaves returning to the trees, I am reminded of this old poem:
Spring is sprung,
the grass is ris,
I wonder where them boidies is?
The boid is on the wing--
Of course the wing is on the boid. -Anonymous
Often attributed to Ogden Nash or other individuals, versions of this poem have appeared in newspapers (and now web pages) since the mid-twentieth century. Written in "Brooklynese," the poem is featured in a New York Times article on January 18, 1976 about our notable dialect in Brooklyn/Bronx/New York/New Jersey. But although there is clearly still a Brooklyn accent, would anyone agree that Brooklynese still exists? Or has it gone the way of the Dodo bird?
This postcard of the entrance to flower gardens in Prospect Park illustrates the beauty of springtime in Brooklyn. And going further back in time, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle effuses about how "the trees in the parks and suburbs and on the country roads are putting forth their tender leaves, many of them fill the air with their fragrance, the lawns and hill sides are robed in beautiful green occasionally flecked with flowers of other colors, and the melodies of the birds complement these scenes of verbal beauty with the only utterances that seem appropriate to the time." (Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 13, 1872). Here's to spring!
If you're a photo nut like me, you may be scrolling through the posts on Brooklynology, thinking "Wow! These are awesome pics! I wonder if they have any more?" Well, have I got news for you. The answer is YES!
For some instant gratification, start at the Historic Brooklyn Photo Galleries. Browse through photos by selected themes such as neighborhoods, the Brooklyn Dodgers, and transportation.
If that's not enough, you can search more than 15,000 photographs in the BPL catalog. If Coney Island is your thing, a simple keyword search will give you a list of books along with unique photographs from the Brooklyn Collection. You can also find photos from the Historic Photos page, which searches the BPL catalog and gives you a list of thumbnail images. And if you find one you really like, you can buy a high resolution digital image or print. The reproduction fees support the preservation of these unique collections. So not only do you get art for your wall, you get that warm fuzzy feeling from supporting a worthy cause. We are adding photographs every day so keep coming back, and enjoy!