Photo of the Week: City Hall on Fire

[Brooklyn City Hall Tower Fire], 1895, V1981.15.132; Ralph Irving Lloyd lantern slides, 1981.15, Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Brooklyn City Hall Tower Fire], 1895, V1981.15.132; Ralph Irving Lloyd lantern slides, 1981.15, Brooklyn Historical Society.

For the next several weeks, we are revisiting some of our favorite photos of the week. We hope you enjoy looking back with us as we prepare new posts for the New Year.

This photo of the week depicts a roof level view of the 1895 fire at Brooklyn City Hall (today’s Borough Hall).  If you look closely, you can see fire ladders propped against the building and firefighters on the roof using hoses to extinguish the fire. The fire started because of a lighted gas jet in a third floor closet. The fire left significant damage, destroying the clock and bell tower, as well as most of the top floor.

This photograph was taken by Dr. Ralph Irving Lloyd (1875-1969), a Brooklyn ophthalmologist and an avid amateur photographer. Throughout his life, Lloyd documented primarily historic 17th, 18th, and 19th century houses located in the New York City metropolitan area. The collection of his photographs includes roughly 400 lantern slides like the one pictured above.

The lantern slide, popularized in the late 19th century, displayed a positive image on a glass plate. This could then be displayed for an audience to experience. This was significant because for the first time, photography became a shared medium, visible by a broad audience. Production of lantern slides ended over 40 years ago, so it’s a rare and unique experience to see one for yourself! To view more of Lloyd’s photographs, check out thisgallery. To learn more about the history of lantern slides, check out this article.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. photos@brooklynhistory.org

Source: Brooklyn Borough Hall, New York State Unified Court System, retrieved from: http://www.courts.state.ny.us/courts/ad2/thecourthouse_brooklynboroughhall.shtml

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Photo of the Week: Happy Hanukkah!

Grandmother at Hanukkah Party, 1980, v1992.43.29; Marcia Bricker photographs, v1992.43; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Grandmother at Hanukkah Party, 1980, v1992.43.29; Marcia Bricker photographs, v1992.43; Brooklyn Historical Society.

For the next several weeks, we are revisiting some of our favorite photos of the week. We hope you enjoy looking back with us as we prepare new posts for the New Year.

Hanukkah began on Sunday evening and continues through Monday, December 10. If you’re celebrating, we hope you’ve had a festive holiday filled with family, menorah lightings, and maybe a few-too-many latkes. Here at BHS we wish you and your family a Happy Hanukkah!

The photo of the week depicts a grandmother at a Hanukkah party in the Brighton Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn in 1980. This photograph comes from the Marcia Bricker photographs collection comprised of 47 photographs and slides taken by Marcia Bricker between 1975 and 1990 that document Dubrow’s Cafeteria, Hasidim at Coney Island, and Russian immigrants at Brighton Beach. This collection is not digitized, but we hope you will take the time to view this rich collection at the Othmer Library during public research hours.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. library@brooklynhistory.org

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Photo of the Week: Lundy’s Restaurant

[Lundy’s Restaurant], 1961, V1974.4.1678; John D. Morrell photographs, ARC.005; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Lundy’s Restaurant], 1961, V1974.4.1678; John D. Morrell photographs, ARC.005; Brooklyn Historical Society.

For the next several weeks, we are revisiting some of our favorite photos of the week. We hope you enjoy looking back with us as we prepare new posts for the New Year.

Lundy’s Restaurant in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of Brooklyn has seen its fair share of good and bad times since it opened in 1935. In its heyday, the restaurant reportedly seated over 2,000 patrons. Opened by Irving Lundy, the historic seafood restaurant operated from 1935-1977, and then again from 1997-2007. This photograph depicts the restaurant in 1961 at 1901 Emmons Avenue.

Irving Lundy was born in 1895, the oldest of seven children. Lundy came from a long line of fish sellers, his grandfather and great-uncles owned several fish stores and by the turn of the century, the family had an established reputation as renowned fish sellers. Within a three year span (1917-1920), Lundy’s parents died from illness, and then his brothers, Clayton and Stanley, died tragically in a boating accident.

By 1926, the first Lundy Brothers restaurant was built on stilts over a pier in Sheepshead Bay. The restaurant closed when the city made plans to revitalize the pier and build bulkheads. The restaurant on Emmons Avenue was built across the street and opened in 1935. They served heaping portions of fresh seafood—oysters, lobsters, and clams, as well as biscuits and fresh pies. Robert Cornfield, in his book Lundy’s: Reminiscences and Recipes from Brooklyn’s Legendary Restaurant, notes, “The resort feel of Lundy’s made it a weekend destination for those from other boroughs—there was the abundance of the Shore Dinner, the walk around the bay and across the wooden bridge to the beautifully landscaped streets of Manhattan Beach, the overarching sky over the narrows.”[1]

Despite great success and notoriety, Lundy and his restaurant faced many tragedies over the years: Lundy was kidnapped and robbed on numerous occasions, the restaurant was robbed by gunmen, his sister and brother-in-law were murdered, there were labor protests, and legal issues. Lundy died of a heart attack in 1977 and the restaurant closed shortly after. Two decades later, the restaurant was re-opened under new management, and closed permanently in 2007. Today, Lundy’s Landing Shopping Plaza has replaced the restaurant.

There is so much more to learn and discover about the Lundy family and the restaurant history. Cornfield’s book is an excellent starting place and is available at the Othmer Library. This photograph comes from the John D. Morrell photographs collection, which contains over 2,000 photographs documenting nearly every Brooklyn neighborhood from 1957-1974. Additional photographs, including a few more from Lundy’s, can be viewed here.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. library@brooklynhistory.org

[1] Robert Cornfield, Lundy’s: Reminiscences and Recipes from Brooklyn’s Legendary Restaurant (New York, N.Y: HarperCollins Publishers, 1998), 48.

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Photo of the Week: Happy Thanksgiving

Sunday School Thanksgiving/Collection, 1910 ca, v1981.284.20; Emmanuel House lantern slide collection, v1981.284; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Sunday School Thanksgiving/Collection, 1910 ca, v1981.284.20; Emmanuel House lantern slide collection, v1981.284; Brooklyn Historical Society.

As you prepare for your Thanksgiving travels and celebrations, we bring you a photo of the week from Thanksgiving, 1910.  The photograph depicts a collection of  items we think were sent to Baptist Home, a community center for senior citizens, located in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn.

This photograph comes from the Emmanuel House lantern slide collection, comprised of 87 slides from 1900-1914. The majority of the images in the collection are group portraits of clubs and classes at the Emmanuel House, but also included are interior and exterior photographs of the building. To see more photographs from this collection, check out this gallery.

Before the holiday begins, I leave you with these final thoughts from a Brooklyn Daily Eagle article from 1910, published the week before Thanksgiving: “So, take it all in all, the Brooklynite has much for which to give thanks next Thursday. Now, let us give these thanks heartily, sincerely in acknowledgement of the blessings of the past year and for the blessings that are to come.” Have a safe, relaxing, and enjoyable holiday!

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. library@brooklynhistory.org

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Photo of the Week: Prospect Park

[Lake + Maryland Monument, Prospect Park], 1896, V1973.5.1528, Brooklyn photograph and illustration collection, ARC.202; Brooklyn Historical Society .

[Lake + Wellhouse, Prospect Park], 1896, V1973.5.1528, Brooklyn photograph and illustration collection, ARC.202; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Prospect Park is a Brooklyn treasure providing 526 acres of green space, wetlands, forested areas, and trails for all to enjoy. According to NYC Parks, eight million visitors a year enjoy the park and its many facilities and public spaces. The park was constructed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux and opened to the public in 1867. The photo of the week depicts a view of the park in 1896.

This photograph comes from the Brooklyn photograph and illustration collection comprised of roughly 7,000 items dating from 1900 to 1950. The collection provides a comprehensive documentation of the borough of Brooklyn with images of neighborhoods, homes, buildings, and infrastructure. To see more photographs from this collection, check out this gallery. We recently digitized about 7,000 photographs from this collection and will make more available on the online image gallery soon.

To learn more about the history of prospect Park and to see more BHS collections on display, check out the BHS Pierrepont exhibition The Means of a Ready Escape: Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. The exhibition features over 100 artifacts and documents that tell the story of Prospect Park.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. library@brooklynhistory.org

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