Brooklyn Boro

MILESTONES: September 18, birthdays for Lance Armstrong, Jada Pinkett Smith, Aisha Tyler

September 18, 2017 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Lance Armstrong. AP Photo/Brett Davis

Brooklyn Today

Greetings, Brooklyn. Today is the 261st day of the year.

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On this day in 1951, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle front page reported that famed bookie Harry Gross identified defendants during a police graft trial lasting three days. Just a few days earlier, law enforcement officials found Gross in Atlantic City after he fled there in an attempt to escape the cops. While there, he went on a wild gambling spree. He was brought back to Brooklyn under heavy guard and placed in an unidentified hotel.

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On this day in 1920, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle front page contained follow-up stories and angles on the deadly blast that killed 34 in front of the Morgan building on Wall Street. Sixteen of the dead were from Brooklyn and Long Island. While originally thought to be a traffic accident involving a Dow Powder truck, the explosion was later confirmed in the Department of Justice investigation to be a bomb that American anarchists set. There was evidence that the men responsible for the Sept. 16, 1920 bombs were the same as those who had mailed bombs the previous year. Chief of the Bureau of Investigation William J. Flynn was confident that the men would be soon be found and arrested. Among the Brooklynites killed was prominent businessman William W. White, a stationer and printer who lived in Flatbush. One woman, Alva Barnaby, who worked in the Morgan building, survived both the Wall Street explosion and the previous weekend’s Malbone Street elevated railway disaster. Barnaby was a widow whose husband had been killed in a bombing in France almost exactly two years prior to the Wall Street bombing. Apparently Divine Providence wanted her to survive, as she was set to soon remarry another war veteran.

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On this day in 1936, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle front page reported that Brooklyn District Attorney William F.X. Geoghan had been cleared and vindicated — this word becoming the story’s catchphrase — of charges that he had mishandled the Drukman murder case. The case centered around the murder of a Samuel Drukman on March 3, 1935. His “beaten and strangled body was found stuffed in the rumble seat of a coupe in a Brooklyn garage,” according to a Chicago Tribune report. A grand jury failed to indict the three suspects: the Luckmans and Fred Hull — even though they were found with bloodstained clothes in the same garage. Gov. Herbert Lehman ordered Geoghan to appear before him to determine whether his ouster was necessary, but later cleared the Brooklyn district attorney, who returned to the city amid heaps of congratulatory messages. However, the Drukman case was later reopened.

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On this day in 1944, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle front page reported that Allied sky trains poured arms, reinforcements and supplies into Holland. The Allied 1st Airborne Army and the British 2nd Army joined forces for this mission, which fanned throughout Holland and brought supplies to Lt. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton’s army. Their goal was to turn the Siegfried Line and open the way to Berlin. The Siegfried Line (which the Germans called the West Wall), was a series of fortifications stretching for 390 miles along Germany’s western border, from Kleve in Holland to Switzerland, according to a website titled “Lost Images of World War II.” Sending the dispatch for the Allied forces was a 27-year-old United Press Agency correspondent named Walter Cronkite. According to The New York Times 2009 obituary of Cronkite, the young journalist became one of the first reporters with the American forces. He gained acclaim as a war correspondent, including for his reportage of the Normandy Invasion in August 1944, and the Battle of the Bulge in December of that year. Cronkite became one of America’s most trusted news anchormen of the 20th century. Closer to home, that same front page reported on Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia’s move to complete work on the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel before the end of the war.

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NOTABLE PEOPLE born on this day include retired cyclist LANCE ARMSTRONG, who was born in 1971; singer and actor FRANKIE AVALON, who was born in 1939; actor ROBERT BLAKE, who was born in 1938; Hall of Fame hockey coach SCOTTY BOWMAN, who was born in 1933; basketball player SERGE IBAKA, who was born in 1989; Hall of Fame baseball player RYNE SANDBERG, who was born in 1959; actress JADA PINKETT SMITH, who was born in 1971; and actress AISHA TYLER, who was born in 1970.

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GRETA GARBO WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1905. The international film star worked in the industry for 19 years and acted in 27 films. Her on-screen roles were characterized by an image of a seductress involved in tragic love affairs. She died in New York City in April 1990.

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JIMI HENDRIX DIED ON THIS DAY IN 1970. The pyrotechnic rock guitarist died in his sleep of a drug overdose in London, stunning the music world. In an interview the year before his death, Hendrix said, “When I die I want people to play my music, go wild and freak out an’ do anything they want to do.”

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SAMUEL JOHNSON WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1709. The English lexicographer and literary lion was the creator of the first great dictionary of the English language (published in 1755). He also authored poems, novels and essays. Johnson died in London in 1784.

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THE NEW YORK TIMES WAS FIRST PUBLISHED ON THIS DAY IN 1851. The paper debuted as the New-York Daily Times. The name was changed to the current one in 1857.

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THE BROOKLYN HISTORICAL SOCIETY (BHS) will host “A Mic for Every Voice: A Podcast Revolution” tonight at 6:30 p.m. Podcasts are one of the most democratic forms of media today, but can their accessibility lead to a greater diversity in public voices? Eleanor Kagan, BuzzFeed’s director of audio and producer of the hit podcasts “Another Round” and “See Something Say Something,” will lead the discussion with Jenna Weiss-Berman of The Moth, StoryCorp, BuzzFeed and co-founder of Pineapple Street Media; Kathy Tu and Tobin Low, co-hosts of “Nancy” from WNYC Studios, hailed by Mashable as “a quiet LGBTQ revolution in podcasting;” and James T. Green, an independent producer and co-founder of Postloudness, a collective of independent audio shows hosted and produced by people of color, women and queer-identified people. These leaders in the landscape explore how they are seizing the opportunity to create highly diverse, groundbreaking content, how they reach and interact with audiences and what they feel the future holds for both listeners and creators. For more information, visit brooklynhistory.org.

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Special thanks to “Chase’s Calendar of Events” and Brooklyn Public Library.

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“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” — Samuel Johnson, who was born on this day in 1709