Brooklyn Boro

February 14: ON THIS DAY in 1949, Jersey blast felt in Brooklyn

February 15, 2019 Brooklyn Daily Eagle

ON THIS DAY IN 1851, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “From Venezuela. — The bark Paez, arrived at Philadelphia on Thursday, from Porto Cabello, whence she sailed on the 28th ult. Captain Wilson reports that, previous to his sailing, intelligence had been received from Caracas, announcing the fact that Congress had elected Senor Don Jose Gregorio Monagas, brother of the late incumbent, President of the Republic, and that matters passed off quietly, contrary to general expectation. The country was perfectly tranquil up to the time of the vessel sailing, and there was no change whatever in commercial affairs.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1903, the Eagle reported, “Many young folks in Brooklyn did not receive the valentines which were mailed to them yesterday. The carriers made their last trip last evening several hours behind schedule time and were compelled to abandon their trips in order to comply with the postal regulations, which provide that they shall not work longer than eight hours. If they broke the rule, they would forfeit their day’s pay.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1949, the Eagle reported, “A terrific explosion rocked the Koppers Coke Company plant in Kearny, N.J., at noon today and the concussion was felt in downtown Brooklyn as well as mid-Manhattan. In a few minutes, telephone switchboards at Brooklyn police headquarters and the Brooklyn Eagle were flooded with frantic inquiries as to the whereabouts of the blast. Pedestrians along Fulton Street and near Borough Hall were convinced that it was in their immediate vicinity. Police and Fire Department officials at Kearny reported that all available equipment of both departments had been rushed to the explosion scene. Ambulances were summoned from Jersey City Medical Center. Although the extent of the resulting damage was not immediately known, first police reports were to the effect that there were casualties … The shock of the explosion was such that the tall Empire State Building in midtown Manhattan swayed under its impact and 40 persons on the 102nd floor were thrown into great excitement when a window was suddenly thrown open by explosion’s effects. They were quickly calmed by attendants.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1952, the Eagle reported, “By United Press — Free peoples throughout the world bowed their heads in silent tribute today to the late King George VI. In Washington, President and Mrs. Truman led the American delegation at memorial services in Washington Cathedral. British Ambassador Sir Oliver S. Franks took part. Altar pieces given to the cathedral by the late king last year were on display. The funeral service in Windsor Castle was to be duplicated late today in the Episcopal Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew, Clinton Ave. and Fulton St. … Memorial services were held in Trinity Church, Manhattan, with Holy Communion honoring the dead at 8 a.m. Another service at noon was attended by members of various British societies as well as the general public. New York’s Liberty Bell in the tower of Middle Collegiate Church, Manhattan, tolled 56 times – once for each year of the dead king’s life – beginning at noon.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1952, the Eagle also reported, “Embattled Loeser’s braced itself today for a big Saturday, probably the biggest in its 92-year-history, as the Fulton Street department store’s closing-out sale went into its third day. The long lines of bargain hunters started forming early against today but officials, cops and store employees were hoping the rush would fall well short of the 100,000 mark set Thursday, opening day of the big sale. The old store’s final sale, officials said, probably will take two weeks, at its current rate, to exhaust the stocks on hand and in the Loeser’s warehouse. Yesterday, with the first mad rush over, about 20,000 shoppers, mostly Brooklyn housewives, streamed through the big building. The crowd was little denser than might be expected on a heavy pre-Christmas shopping day.”

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