Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And apparently he's been to Brooklyn on many occasions.
Early evidence of Santa's presence in Brooklyn can be seen in this 1878 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. That year, Santa and his reindeer set up his HEADQUARTERS at Rogers, Peet & Co on Fulton Street. Although he was probably quite busy getting ready for his big night, the advertisement goes on to point out that all children were welcome to come visit him.
Santa seems to have had similar relationships with several department stores over the years. In 1937, he joined Snow White and Abe the Clown to celebrate one of the United States' largest Christmas trees, on display outside of Loeser's Department Store (left). In 1950, he hosted the opening of the Namm's Department Store Toyland (below).
That same year, he also arrived by helicopter (I guess the reindeer had the day off) outside of the May's Department Store. Notice the crowds forming not only on the street, but inside the store. That Santa really knows how to make an entrance.
Santa's public appearances weren't limited to the commercial. He attended holiday lighting ceremonies on Flatbush Avenue and Fifth Avenue. He even stopped by Central Library (right) one year.
But his favorite activity, by far, seems to be serving as a special guest at children's parties at settlement houses, community centers and other charitable organizations. Our collection is full of images depicting Santa's generosity to those children who were most in need.
There are also rumors that Santa's Brooklyn excursions are not limited to the winter months. In 1966, amateur photographer Irving Herzberg captured photographic evidence that Santa occasionally vacations at Coney Island.
It's hard to predict where Santa might pop up this year. If you have a Santa sighting... let us know. And in the meantime, we here at Brooklynology are sending you best wishes for a very Happy and Healthy Holiday Seaon!