Brooklyn Boro

December 20: ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

December 20, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle History
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ON THIS DAY IN 1903, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “‘Good night’ in flaming letters and a final outburst of rockets put an end to the bridge opening celebration last night, but it was long after the final sputter of the pyrotechnics before the good people of the Eastern District and those from all other sections of the borough who had journeyed in every conceivable way to the scene of the great celebration began to go home. It had been a glorious day on both sides of the swirl of the mighty East River and the crowded occupants of the East Side tenements on the Manhattan end of the new bridge saw in the glittering arch that bound the two boroughs at night a rainbow of promise for the future. No longer would they be crowded together in reeking tenements. The entire country, it seemed to them, had opened up for their better raising of sturdy sons and comely daughters. Brooklyn was the promised land, and stretching beyond Brooklyn away into Queens and further Nassau, the hope of homes where fresh air would be as free as sunlight, was buoyant in their bosoms. The opening of the bridge which would give them easy access to the heart of the crowded metropolis from homesteads on Long Island was pregnant with meaning to them. It was long before they retired to rest and thousands of dwellers on the East Side stood long after the good people of the Eastern District had gone to their beds, watching the mighty arch with its twinkling lights.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1932, the Eagle reported, “The offices of the Radio City Music Hall, which opens Dec. 27, under the direction of ‘Roxy,’ have been buried under a storm of mail requesting, begging or demanding seats for the premiere. The capacity of the house, the largest theater in the world, is 6,200. By exact count, 61,838 persons ordered seats by mail.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1945, the Eagle reported, “There will be 220 more seats on each I.R.T. local train operating in Brooklyn and subway service in the borough will be speeded up by at least 70 percent as a result of the realization of the Board of Transportation’s postwar subway modernization project. The project will be started this spring and will be complete within four years. First results of the extensive improvement program should be evident by next fall, subway officials said today. The major part of the program will be the lengthening of short stations so that they can accommodate 10-car trains. A station has to be 514 feet long before a 10-car train can open all its doors on the platform. Of the I.R.T.’s 28 stations in Brooklyn, only 14 can now accommodate a full 10-car train. The stations to be lengthened are: Clark St., Boro Hall, Hoyt St., Nevins St., Atlantic Ave., Bergen St., Grand Army Plaza, Eastern Parkway, Franklin Ave., Nostrand Ave., Kingston Ave., Utica Ave., Sutter Ave. and Rockaway Ave.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1946, the Eagle reported, “Mr. and Mrs. Alex Stewart, mother and dad of James Stewart, will attend the benefit showing of their son’s first post-war starring picture, Frank Capra’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ at the Globe Theater tonight. The showing will be for the Boys Club of New York.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1947, the Eagle reported, “If you hear the playing of bells in Brooklyn at noon or 5 p.m. daily from now until New Year’s Day, pealing Christmas carols and songs, don’t bother looking around, because you won’t be able to find the carillon. The music will be coming from the world’s loudest set of bells, installed on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building and played yesterday for the first time. A tiny set of bell-metal bars, struck by miniature hammers, produces the tones, which are amplified about 100,000 times and set out from 12 huge ‘stentor’ horns placed around the outside of the building. Yesterday’s concert, which included ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ and ‘White Christmas,’ was heard in Coney Island, St. Albans and Hoboken. Concerts will be played daily at noon and 5 p.m., on Sundays at 2 and 6 p.m., and on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve at noon, 5 and 9 p.m. and midnight.”

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JoJo
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Jonah Hill
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

NOTABLE PEOPLE BORN ON THIS DAY include Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Peter Criss (Kiss), who was born in 1945; illusionist Uri Geller, who was born in 1946; “Law & Order” creator Dick Wolf, who was born in 1946; music producer Alan Parsons, who was born in 1948; “Logan’s Run” star Jenny Agutter, who was born in 1952; “The Practice” star Michael Badalucco, who was born in Brooklyn in 1954; “Ring My Bell” singer Anita Ward, who was born in 1956; Minutemen co-founder Mike Watt, who was born in 1957; Runaways bassist Jackie Fox, who was born in 1959; former N.Y. Knicks shooting guard Trent Tucker, who was born in 1959; AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Freddie Spencer, who was born in 1961; Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson, who was born in 1966; “Moneyball” star Jonah Hill, who was born in 1983; singer and actress JoJo, who was born in 1990; and “Awkward” star Jillian Rose Reed, who was born in 1991.

Chris Robinson
John Davisson/Invision/AP

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IT’S A DATE: “The Dating Game” premiered on TV on this day in 1965. Developed by Chuck Barris, it typically featured a “bachelorette” who questioned three men who were hidden from her view and decided, based on their answers, which guy appealed to her the most. The couple was then sent on a date, courtesy of the show. Occasionally, a bachelor would question three women.

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POEM OF THE BRAVE: The position of America’s poet laureate was established on this day in 1985. In return for a stipend as poet laureate and a salary as the consultant in poetry, the appointee must present at least one major work of poetry and appear at selected national ceremonies. The first poet laureate was Robert Penn Warren, who was appointed by the Library of Congress on Feb. 26, 1986.

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

 

Quotable:

“Never surrender opportunity for security.”

— Baseball Hall of Famer Branch Rickey, who was born on this day in 1881


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