Brooklyn Boro

March 19: ON THIS DAY in 1953, city faces big transit cuts

March 19, 2019 Brooklyn Eagle

ON THIS DAY IN 1867, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “The disgraceful riot between those who took part in the celebration of St. Patrick’s day in New York, and the police, sadly mars the otherwise pleasing recollection of an anniversary celebrated with great enthusiasm by the exiled children of Ireland, with the hearty approval of all classes of our population. Unfortunately, too, the fair fame of our city is more or less implicated, for the riot took place in that part of the procession in which the Eastern District societies were placed. We cannot, for the life of us see, why these societies cannot celebrate the day in Brooklyn instead of joining a procession in New York which swells into unwieldy and troublesome proportions. There is no good reason why any class should be allowed to stop the outdoor business of a great city for hours together, and if such public displays cannot be confined to the lesser thoroughfares, they had better be prohibited altogether, and if the general rule is adhered to, no one will have reason for special complaint.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1918, the Eagle reported, “The Daylight Saving bill was signed today by President [Woodrow] Wilson. The new law puts all clocks forward an hour at 2 p.m. on the last Sunday in March and turns them again the last Sunday in October. The daylight saving plan will go into effect and be observed without the slightest disorganization or impairment of existing conditions. Trains will run as usual, and every feature of daily life into which the element of time enters will remain unchanged. Before retiring on the last Saturday of this month, the American householder will set his clock an hour ahead, and then may go to sleep and forget entirely about daylight saving until the last Saturday in October. On that date he will reverse the process, turning back the hands of the clock an hour, and the next day the nation again will run on ‘sun’ time.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1951, the Eagle reported, “Want to save your life if atom bombs fall? Construct or select your own bomb shelter in your home or place of business, and stock it with vital supplies. That’s the warning today from Arthur W. Wallander, director of the city’s Office of Civil Defense, and Bernard J. Gillroy, commissioner of Housing and Building. Wallander said a shelter properly constructed in the cellar of a private home ‘may save your life.’ Home shelters, he pointed out, should contain from five to 10 square feet of space for each person, and should have two exits. Essential supplies include a fire extinguisher and pails of water, first-aid equipment, battery-operated radio, flashlight or battery-operated lantern, ax and crowbar. A shovel and bottled drinking water are also recommended. Apartment houses, office buildings and factories provide space on lower floors which could be converted into emergency shelters, he said … Deputy County Clerk James A. Kelly, disaster preparedness chairman of the Brooklyn Red Cross, said 10 borough locations would be designated soon as rest centers for homeless refugees in the event of a bomb attack.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1953, the Eagle reported, “The Board of Transportation, backed against the wall by the Board of Estimate’s 24-hour ultimatum to slash $50,000,000 from its operating budget, was expected to bring forth a plan today calling for elimination of numerous surface lines and drastic reduction in services. Following the Board of Estimate’s rejection yesterday of Governor [Thomas] Dewey’s ‘onerous and intolerable’ city transit authority plan, Transit Commissioners Sidney H. Bingham, G. Joseph Minetti and James F. Dulligan were directed to draw up by 2 p.m. today a blueprint to wipe out the transit system’s staggering deficit. Bingham, angered by the implication that his department was not operating economically, warned that the severe economy drive would force the board to: 1. Abandon all bus lines running parallel to subway lines; 2. Shut down the 3rd Ave. El; 3. Eliminate free passes and transfers.”

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