Photo of the Week: Nathan’s

[View of Surf Avenue Coney Island.], 1958, V1974.4.1146, John D. Morrell photographs, ARC.005; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[View of Surf Avenue Coney Island.], 1958, V1974.4.1146, John D. Morrell photographs, ARC.005; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Nathan’s Famous has stood at the corner of Stillwell and Surf Avenues in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn for 100 years. Polish immigrant Nathan Handwerker and his wife Ida Handwerker opened the hot dog stand in 1916. A New York Times article reported that the Handwerkers used their life savings of $300 to open the business. Ida Handwerker created the secret spice for the hot dogs, which were sold for five cents each.

The restaurant appealed to the hundreds of thousands of visitors to Coney Island each year. By 1923, the New York City subway extended to Coney Island, with a station right across the street from the restaurant, which aided the growth and success of the business. To date, Nathan’s claims to have sold over 435 million hot dogs to date.

The photo of the week depicts the Surf Avenue side of Nathan’s in 1958. This photograph comes from the John D. Morrell photograph collection which comprises over 2,000 black and white and color photographs depicting nearly every Brooklyn neighborhood from 1957-1974. If you’re interested in housing research, be sure to check out the fully digitized collection 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

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Photo of the Week: Ferry Terminal

[Houston Street Ferry Terminal, Grand Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, N.Y.], 1922, V1991.106.2, Eugene L. Armbruster photographs and scrapbooks, V1991.106; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Houston Street Ferry Terminal, Grand Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, N.Y.], 1922, V1991.106.2, Eugene L. Armbruster photographs and scrapbooks, V1991.106; Brooklyn Historical Society.

The photo of the week depicts the shuttered Houston Street Ferry Terminal, a ferry that connected Manhattan (Houston Street) and Williamsburg (Grand Street) via the East River, in 1922.

In 1810, Richard Woodhull purchased 13 acres of land (later named Williamsburg) that included the ferry landing, with the intention to create a suburb of New York City. In the 19th century, Williamsburg was a large and very diverse neighborhood. Its resorts and private clubs drew wealthy visitors from New York City and beyond. Other parts of Williamsburg were home to many diverse industries (including dozens of beer breweries).  And Williamsburg was also a thriving working-class neighborhood, home to Irish, German, Austrian, and African American communities By the early 20th century (1900-1920) Williamsburg’s population had doubled, and new generations of immigrants, many from Eastern Europe,  settled in the area.

The Houston Street Ferry, one of several in Williamsburg, operated from 1840 until 1918. Once an essential means of moving people across the river, many ferry lines declined and were shuttered after the completion of the East River bridges  and the extension of the subway to Brooklyn in 1908. The land on which the ferry terminal remained abandoned for many years. The NYC Department of Parks and Recreation acquired the land in 1997, and Grand Street Park opened in 1998. To learn more about this fascinating history, check out the Grand Street Ferry history page at NYC parks website. To learn more about Williamsburg history, check out Williamsburg by Victor Lederer, available at the Othmer Library.

This photograph comes from the Eugene L. Armbruster photographs and scrapbooks collection. The collection contains over 4,000 black-and-white photographs of early 20th century Brooklyn taken by amateur photographer, Eugene L. Armbruster. A limited number of photographs are available online here. Thanks to a generous grant from Gerry Charitable Trust, Brooklyn Historical Society will be digitizing and making available the scrapbooks from this collection. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting project.

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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Flatbush + Main Episode 04: Hip Hop in Brooklyn

In episode 04 of Brooklyn Historical Society’s podcast Flatbush + Main, co-hosts Zaheer Ali and Julie Golia examine the history and evolution of hip hop in Brooklyn. Joined by Wes Jackson, founder and Executive Director of the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival, we consider how Brooklyn shaped the trajectory of this powerful cultural genre – and how hip hop, in turn, shaped Brooklyn and Brooklynites. We chat with media producer, archivist, and educator Martha Diaz about what it means to document and archive such a multilayered and global movement as hip hop. Finally, in the “Voices of Brooklyn” segment, we listen to author, filmmaker, and cultural critic Nelson George describe how hip hop communities operated on the ground in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Fort Greene.

We also got to attend the 12th Annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival and speak to some fans about what Brooklyn hip hop means to them. You’ll hear their reflections, thoughts, and experiences throughout the episode.

As always, you can email us at flatbushandmain@brooklynhistory.org or leave a comment on this post with questions or suggestions. And don’t forget to subscribe to Flatbush + Main and to rate us on iTunes, Stitcher, or whatever platform you use to listen to podcasts.

Index

02:45 – Histories and Ideas: Hip Hop’s History in Brooklyn, with Wes Jackson
15:09 – Into the Archives: Archiving Hip Hop, with Martha Diaz
27:50 – Voices of Brooklyn: Nelson George

Segment 1: Histories and Ideas

Learn more about Wes Jackson’s work at Brooklyn Bodega and the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival.

Want to read more about hip hop’s history? Take a look at Tricia Rose’s Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America and Jeff Chang’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation.

Segment 2: Into the Archives

Learn more about Martha Diaz’s important work at the Hip Hop Education Center and at the Universal Hip Hop Museum.

I particularly enjoyed exploring this interactive timeline from the Education Center.

The Universal Hip Hop Museum has a great YouTube channel. Here’s a short video introduction to the museum:

More hip hop archives:
The Steven Hager Hip Hop Research Collection, Schomburg Center, New York Public Library

Cornell University’s Rare Book and Manuscript library collects actively on the history of hip hop.

Harvard University is home to the Hip Hop Archive and Research Institute.

Segment 3: Voices of Brooklyn

Below is the full interview with Nelson George. This interview is being made available online, thanks to a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) of the National Archives and Records Administration.

We also recommend George’s film Brooklyn Boheme, which looks at the flowering community of black artists living in Fort Greene in the 1980s and 1990s.

Segment 4: Endorsements

Our colleague Marcia Ely, Vice President for Programs and External Affairs at BHS, joins us to discuss “Truman Capote’s Brooklyn: The Lost Photographs of David Attie,” an exhibition that she organized here at BHS. The exhibition got a great write up in the New York Times last week.

Zaheer endorses BHS’s Brooklyn on Screen film series. At 7pm on August 1, 2016, BHS will show Spike Lee’s iconic “Do the Right Thing.” Get tickets here.

Julie endorses the BHS event “Crown Heights Encounters: Listening Back, Moving Forward.” On August 10, 2016, at 6:30pm, Errol Louis will host this three-part event honoring the past and future of the neighborhood of Crown Heights. Get tickets here.

Both of these events are FREE.

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Photo of the Week: Masquerade

Louis Ramus [at the Masquerade Ball], 1917, V1978.174.30, Ramus family papers and photographs, 1978.174; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Louis Ramus [at the Masquerade Ball], 1917, V1978.174.30, Ramus family papers and photographs, 1978.174; Brooklyn Historical Society.

The photo of the week depicts Louis Ramus dressed for the annual Masquerade Ball at Brooklyn Turn Verein Hall on March 5, 1917 in the Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. I think this photograph is particularly charming because of Ramus’s festive clothing and proud stance for the photographer.

Turn Verein halls originated in Germany, and expanded to the United States in communities with large German populations. In Brooklyn, Turn Verein halls were community, education, and cultural centers seeking to preserve and celebrate German traditions and celebrations. There were at least five Turn Verein chapters in Brooklyn, with nearly every one hosting an annual Masquarade Ball. A Brooklyn Daily Eagle article in 1890 described one such ball as a festive event: “The hall was elaborately decorated for the occasion with flags and bunting in various designs and by masqueraders in costumes ranging chronologically from the time of George Washington, pater patriae, to that of the excellent and well beloved Dr. Mary Walker, and in variety—well, no matter about that—it suffices to say that one of the 500 masqueraders present hardly two were costumed alike. The members and friends of the Turn Verein were out for a good time and they brought their sweethearts and friends and wives and daughters with them.”

This photograph is from the Ramus family papers and photographs collection. Louis Ramus (pictured) was the son of Isaac Ramus and Esther Baruth, who immigrated from London and settled at 214 Dean Street in Brooklyn. Isaac Ramus was a retail dealer in hosiery and undergarments with a store on Canal Street in Manhattan. This collection contains documents, ephemera, and photographs pertaining to the members of the Ramus family. To see more photographs from this collection, check out this gallery.

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: Sunbathers

[Brighton Beach sunbathers], circa 1975, v2008.013.32; Lucille Fornasieri Gold photographs, v2008.013; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Brighton Beach sunbathers], circa 1975, v2008.013.32; Lucille Fornasieri Gold photographs, v2008.013; Brooklyn Historical Society.

With temperatures reaching the nineties last week, I think it’s safe to say that the summer heat has finally arrived in Brooklyn. Whether you’re desperately looking for ways to cool off or you enjoy soaking up the heat (like the sunbathers above), please remember to be safe. When the heat index reaches 100 degrees for any one day or 95 degrees for two or more days, the city opens cooling centers in public facilities throughout the five boroughs. Be sure to take note of the centers near you.

The photo of the week depicts sunbathers in Brighton Beach around 1975. This photograph comes from the Lucille Fornasieri Gold photographs collection that comprises 93 color and black and white photographs taken between 1968 and 2008. Gold’s photographs are primarily posed and unposed portraits of individuals throughout Brooklyn, Manhattan, and New Jersey. Her approach is documentary in nature, influenced by photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Garry Winogrand, and Lisette Model.  This collection is fully digitized and can be viewed online 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

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