Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Kinda book review: Brooklyn's Sportsmen's Row:: Politics, Society and the Sporting Life on Northern Eighth Avenue


Sportsmen's Row
A friend of mine recommended I read this book because it's basically about the street I live on 150 years ago. In a nutshell Brooklyn had 3 horse racing tracks in the late 1800s. I knew that and they were in Sheepshead Bay, where I grew up and Coney Island. I also know that it's easy to get to Sheepshead Bay from Park Slope because of what we now call the B train. In 1875 it was called the Brighton Line. What I learned in this book was that the owners of these race tracks and some of the best jockeys lived in a few of the houses down the block from where I live now. I also already knew that the mayor of New York City lived in that row of houses. He often walked to City Hall, over the Brooklyn Bridge. I knew that.

The book was about a lot of the drama between the people that lived on the block. Stuff you would expect from 1875 to 1890 Brooklyn New York.

But there are some interesting things that I learned. For example at the end of his term President Garfield considered buying a house on 8th Avenue. He did not. On his retirement from the Secret Service Sam Pinkerton moved to Brooklyn and lived in the house diagonally across the street from my own building.He was the head of security for all of the race tracks in Sheepshead Bay. His personal stable was on a lot of land that is now occupied by the Park Slope Food Co-op. On a day that he was not home the stable was raided by the police department because his children were organizing a cock fight.

I learned that "the Industrialist J.Rogers Maxwell lived at 78 8th Avenue" Wikipedia says he was more of a sailor than an industrialist.Apparently he gave a large gift to Long Island College Hospital. If someone reading this has access to the New York Times online perhaps they can send me the words of this article and I will add it to the blog. According to this website Maxwell died at 78 8th Avenue " 

Eventually in the late 1900's the interest in yacht racing decreased — races and transatlantic sprints lost in popularity. Nevertheless, John Rogers Maxwell died from cerebral apoplexy on December 10th 1910 at his home at 78 Eighth Avenue in Brooklyn.

1 comment:

  1. is your friend for reading paywall blocked current and old news articles. It works for the NY Times, the Wall Street Journal and many other wbsites. And I promise it’s not a Rick Roll website—very safe to use.


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