Brooklyn Boro

June 16: ON THIS DAY in 1943, Mayor opens city records to full inquiry by Council

June 16, 2020 Brooklyn Eagle History

ON THIS DAY IN 1904, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “This afternoon it was believed that 1,000 was a conservative estimate of the number of dead in the disaster of the steamboat General Slocum. The focus of interest in the disaster today was the gloomy morgue at the foot of East Twenty-sixth street, Manhattan, which seemed to be a clearing house for the corpses of the victims, and all morning long there was a procession of undertakers’ wagons, filling the streets from curb to curb and waiting for an opportunity to take away the remnants of poor mortality that were lying at the morgue, and on the Charities Department dock, to the homes that had been left in such high spirits yesterday morning. The morgue could not hold the bodies that were brought to the neighborhood from early yesterday morning until late this afternoon. They came in stacks of fifty at a time. The limitations of the dead house were taxed as they had never been before. The supply of rough pine coffins was not sufficient to meet all the demands and in more than one instance two or three bodies were placed in one box and the remains of an adult were squeezed into a coffin that was intended for a younger person.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1918, the Eagle reported, “Anarchy in its most horrible form has taken Russian villages in its grip and is throttling them. Massacres of the bourgeoisie and the enslavement of women are rife in southern Russia and, according to Maxim Gorki’s paper ‘Novaya Zhizn,’ similar radical methods will soon be applied to Greater Russia. The following account of conditions is given in a recent edition of the paper: ‘ All observers of the village today are unanimously of the opinion that the process of disintegration and demoralization is proceeding there with irresistible force. Having plundered the estates of the landowners, having shared out among themselves or simply destroyed the dead and living stocks on those estates, having even taken to pieces the buildings, the peasants are now preparing for war against one another for the division of the spoil. To this is added the calamity of famine.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1943, the Eagle reported, “Mayor LaGuardia, bowing to the Democratic-controlled City Council’s move in ordering an investigation of the city government, this afternoon threw wide the doors of his administration for a full inquiry. The Mayor, in  effect, directed all his commissioners and subordinate appointees to extend full cooperation to the Council’s special investigating committee, headed by Democratic Councilman Walter R. Hart of Brooklyn, but served notice that he did not expect city funds to be spent for the inquiry. Meanwhile, other developments piled up with almost unprecedented swiftness following a turbulent post-midnight meeting of the City Council at which the city’s Democratic-controlled legislative body rushed through a resolution for the biggest investigation which the LaGuardia Administration has faced since taking office. The vote was 18 to 5.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1944, the Eagle reported, “ALLIED SUPREME HEADQUARTERS, LONDON (U.P.) — American tank and infantry vanguards, spearheading a battering ram advance across the Normandy peninsula, drove to within a little more than two miles of the enemy’s main escape highway and last railway from Cherbourg today. On the other flank of the Normandy beachhead the Nazis reported they had blown up sluices and dikes at Caen, possibly foreshadowing abandonment of the ruined stronghold.  The weather turned the worst since D-Day and German resistance stiffened in a number of sectors, but Supreme Headquarters revealed that the Allies had hammered out gains, especially on the Cherbourg Peninsula where Lt. Gen. Omar N. Bradley’s American troops were driving to cut off the great port. Armored forces smashing across the waist of the peninsula on a 10-mile front were within two and one-half miles of St. Sauveur-Le Vicomte, a rail and highway center vital to the maintenance or withdrawal of the German garrison in Cherbourg.”


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