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"The rain it raineth every day..."

Jun 22, 2009 3:32 PM | 0 comments

Since we've been deluged for the greater part of the month I thought it would be appropriate to find some rain-related entries from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle




The rain isn't bothering this woman on Cortelyou and Coney Island Avenue in 1948 



    In 1924 it was slow going on Clarendon Road. 


And where there is rain, there are umbrellas.  On March 13th 1896 an Eagle article reads:

While the sky lowered and threatened rain yesterday from thousands of homes in this town the cry went up: "Who's got my umbrella?'  Hard to tell, for anyone in reach of it feels at liberty to take it, for in such case stealing is not theft, let the courts say what they will.  One who would not touch your cane feels at [perfect] liberty to walk off with your umbrella.  The article goes on to state that the first Londoner to use an umbrella did so in 1786;  and that 1800 marked the beginning of American umbrella manufacuturing in Philadelphia, though it wasn't until 1808 that they began to show up in Brooklyn. 

 The April 25th, 1902 edition ran an editorial entitled, "Humors of the Umbrella".  The author proclaims:

"One of the greatest causes of distress and profanity is the umbrella. Umbrellas seem to have been designed especially by an all-wise Creator to tax our patience and disturb our peace of mind.  What man is there who possesses more than one umbrella and yet who has not bought at least a hundred? An umbrella is common property, and therefore not the subject of larceny.  It is now a well established custom and well setlled law that one man has as much right to any umbrella as any other man...To conclusively prove this argument, I cite the famouse case of the man who left an umbrella in a certain Brooklyn church, and who, upon leaving, found it missing. He thereupon advertised in the Eagle the next afternoon to the effect that the man who "stole" (which was libel, per se,) an umbrella from the lobby of the ____Methodist Church would be a very wise man if he left it in the front yard of the advertiser by 6 o'clock the following morning.  When the man awoke the next day he was surprised to find his front yard filled with umbrellas. 

On September 21, 1884 this essay captured the mood of rain-soaked Brooklyn.

A rainy day within the city, by no clever beguilings of imagination, can be made other than a pest.  Even our own Brooklyn streets are half deserted and the spectral skeleton of the Bruff road is shadowed with an added gloom.  The tinkling of the bells of the car horses have a muffled sounds, as though they heralded the march of ghosts, while everywhere there is a stickiness that irritates and a depression that crushes.  A rain in town seems to serve no higherness than to flush the sewers, and it takes a rare philiosophy to interpret it other than as a nuisance.  The tension perhaps of customary living is relaxed a little.  It is not a day for careful reading, but for the odds and ends of work.  The student patches up his scrap books on such days as these, or sorts his pamphlets for the binder or by the window sits and watches the rain come down upon the pavement of the street.  If I was a woman in the city now, I should sort my ribbons or work upon the crazy quilt, or clean the closets or the bureau drawers, do a little housecleaning in the halls or please myself with some other of the numerous vanities that afflict the sex. 

As we dry out for a few days, at least, (rain IS in the forecast for Friday) we can take a little comfort in knowing that it's been this bad before. I think I'll look for my ribbons.