Brooklyn Public Library

Mobile AppDownload our Mobile App

eNewsletterSubscribe to BPL eNews


Little Known Brooklyn Residents: Grandma Logan of Greenpoint

Mar 23, 2010 1:17 PM | 4 comments

I am very content to live and work in the borough of Brooklyn, and wholeheartedly enjoy my provincial lifestyle. Occasionally months will pass before I travel across the river -- a running joke with my husband who commutes into Manhattan frequently. This probably reveals why the following headline caught my attention, from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, dated June 19, 1927.

Mrs. Mary A. Logan lived a long, happy and peaceful life within the confines of three city blocks of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. When she first arrived in Greenpoint from Ireland in 1859 at the age of 21, the district was a farming community and "little more than a wilderness." She was quoted as saying "...there was not a pavement and hardly a well. We had to go to India St. for a pail of water...there was a beautiful orchard between Norman and Nassau Sts. on Newell St., and many beautiful gardens." She even recalled a time when mothers commonly bathed their babies in the East River.

A view of Greenpoint, Brooklyn from the late 19th century

Over the many years she lived in Greenpoint, Mrs. Mary A. Logan felt little desire to travel far beyond her own neighborhood. She lived at 77 Dupont Street, and became well-known to most Greenpoint residents, who treated her like royalty and affectionately called her Grandma Logan. Every year she celebrated her birthday with a neighborhood party, and great circles of her intimate friends were invited. At her 92nd birthday party, she surprised her guests by dancing a "break-down" -- otherwise known as a birthday jig.

 The three times Grandma Logan left Greenpoint were reported in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle as follows. She took one ride on the subway, after which she said "I thought they were trying to drown me...never again." The second trip was to Prospect Park which she recalled largely through "the feeling of lonesomeness for home after a few hours had passed." Her third outing was a trip to Central Park which she thought was a "beautiful place."

Prospect Park in the era of Grandma Logan's outing

"I have lived in Brooklyn all my life" Grandma Logan said, "and here in Greenpoint for the greater part of it. Everything is fine here. I have always liked it. No one could get me to move out on Long Island or anywhere else now." Grandma Logan's perspective on Greenpoint was certainly unique, her home being truly where her heart was. Grandma Logan passed away in her 101st year in 1936. 



3/23/2010 2:23:14 PM #

I imagine Greenpoint looked pretty good after Ireland during the Great Famine and the years immediately following.


3/24/2010 5:15:41 PM #

What a cool look at the past... I think it's been about a week since I crossed the river Smile


4/4/2010 8:42:57 PM #

Great piece.  But the picture is from the late 19th century.


4/5/2010 1:41:23 PM #

Quite right thfs, thank you. We corrected it.