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Blog Posts by Subject: Brooklyn

Short-Term Research Fellows: A Closer Look at Brooklyn History

As a graduate student whose dissertation examines the development of Brooklyn in the nineteenth century, I have spent more hours than I care to count the past several years poring through documents in the Brooklyn Historical Society, the Brooklyn Public Library and other repositories in what was formerly the nation's third-largest city and is now New York City's most populous borough. Recently however, through the New York Public Library's Short-Term Research Fellowship Program and 

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Jane McGonigal and NYPL present Find the Future: The Game

For 100 years, The New York Public Library's landmark Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street and its world-renowned collections have inspired people everywhere to find their futures. In honor of the Centennial Celebration, pioneering game designer Jane McGonigal helped the Library kick off its Weekend Festival with Find 

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Changing the Changing City

Seeking further enlightenment into the city we call home, I recently took a class on the literary and cultural history of New York City. Among the many themes common to New York City novels we discussed was the portrayal of the city itself as a character with power to shape the lives of its citizens.

Many of us New Yorkers have felt this pressure in our own lives: we choose where to live based on our budgets, our hobbies, our family situation, and often our ethnic, linguistic or religious 

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A Morning Bike Ride in New York City

It was a plan to get out early and it was a plan I kept to. I carried my bike atop my shoulder down my stoop and I was on the streets of Brooklyn by 9:00 AM. The sun was shining; the air was fresh and sweet. The hot sun had not yet evaporated away the luscious morning air. It was a perfect temperature out. The light shimmered as it bounced off the buildings. I made my way through the quiet of Brooklyn, one neighborhood melding into another by way of asphalt ribbons.

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The Battle For Brooklyn, 1776

The main American line was on Brooklyn Heights, with a series of entrenchments and fortifications. In front of this was the heavily wooded area of the Heights of Guan, corresponding roughly to Prospect Park area today. Here the Americans had placed an outer line of defenses under the loose command of Maj-Gen John Sullivan. Today, Sullivan Street in New York’s Greenwich Village is named after him. He was assisted by Israel Putnam, brave, but over his head in commanding anything more than a regiment or two. Alexander Stirling, self styled as Lord Stirling because the British crown had 

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Weeksville Revisited

In a previous post, we looked at maps of Brooklyn from the 19th and early 20th centuries of the neighborhood once called Weeksville, centered on Hunterfly Road. It was there, in 1969, according to The Weeksville Society, that researchers rediscovered the "Hunterfly Road houses," the neighborhood's only remaining residential structures from the period.

I'm curious to know if those same researchers used the

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Digitizing the Historical Landscape

We've digitized more historical maps documenting the changing New York City landscape. Follow the link to a comprehensive listing of close to 2,700 maps showing buildings, old streets, farm lines, streetcar routes historical shorelines and more.

Here's a small section from G.M. Hopkins' 1880 Farm Line Atlas of Brooklyn.

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Weeksville was a community of African Americans founded in 1838 by a freed slave named James Weeks in an area straddling modern day Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights in Brooklyn. By the 1860s, according to Weeksville Society, it had become a cultural nexus and a draft riot safe haven for New York City's growing African American population. While much has been written about its people, both today, as in this

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Chrysanthemum, Queen of Autumn.

← A Rich Display of Chrysanthemums (Image from NYPL Digital Gallery)

The chrysanthemum, which "occupies the sovereign position in autumn," has particular pride of place in Japanese culture. The blossoms can be spotted on the Japanese royal crest, in elaborate floral arrangements, at mealtimes as an edible accompaniment, and as an element in Japanese design. And for the next few weeks, chrysanthemums take 

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Coney Island Maps

I've always been fascinated with landscapes changing through time as seen though the lens of the map. Shorelines, especially where there are lots of waves and tides, are particularly interesting things in that they are so clearly dynamic. These fire insurance maps of Coney Island, created between 1880 and 1907 document those changes beautifully. In addition to those covering Coney Island, the NYPL has digitized close to 2000 maps at this level of detail for all five boroughs of New York City.

G.W. Bromley, 

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Tunnel from Brooklyn to London…

Ever wish you could see what was happening on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean…well now you can go down to the Fulton Ferry Landing near the Brooklyn Bridge and take a peek at what is going on in London. 

The Telectroscope by the artist Paul St George, a brass and wood telescope, 37 feet long by 11 feet tall…will visually connect New Yorkers to people in London, where an identical scope will sit on the banks of the Thames in the shadow of Tower Bridge. 

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Takashi Murakami @ the Brooklyn Museum

If you like Japanese anime and manga you should see the new © Murakami exhibition (April 5-July 13, 2008) at the Brooklyn Museum. This is the first major retrospective on the works of Japanese artist/designer Takashi Murakami, who is known as the Warhol of Japan. It focuses on his work from 1991-2000, “when the artist began exploring his own reality through an investigation of branding and identity." From "© MURAKAMI: Brooklyn Museum Photo Gallery”

The colors are vibrant 

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Brooklyn’s Williamsburgh

This week we wanted to feature a book that is not found in many library collections. Brooklyn’s Williamsburgh is a labor of love to which author Brian Merlis dedicated about half of his life. It is a compilation of newspaper clippings, old advertisements, photographs, drawings and maps, all pertaining to Williamsburg history. While the documentation of this book is not the best, (there are no footnotes and or references for images) it has a very intimate feeling and is very image rich.

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The Brooklyn

It’s been a while since I posted any cocktail recipes, but since Frank Bruni just gave two stars to one of my favorite restaurants, I thought I’d honor Franny’s by posting a recipe for a Brooklyn. They serve a delicious one at Franny’s, so my brother reverse engineered the recipe to make an equally delicious one at home. Like many cocktails, recipes vary. The Official 

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