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December 31: ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

December 31, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle History
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ON THIS DAY IN 1900, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “The last day of the nineteenth century began with alternate scowling and weeping, but even ill humor or remorse, or the combination of both, seemed to be having little effect upon the spirits of people whose faces showed that they were looking forward to the mystic hour of midnight when the chimes on Trinity Church will announce such a New Year’s morn as no one who hears them understandingly has ever seen before or will ever see again. For it will be, indeed, the beginning of the ‘year of a hundred years,’ and it was not difficult to imagine a trace of this thought in the face of many a man gazing absently at his newspaper as the groaning motor or the panting engine carried him toward his business. It seems quite certain, therefore, that there will be some definite expression of this feeling in the demonstrations of various kinds which will mark the passage of this New Year’s eve. That these demonstrations will be of all kinds, to say nothing of all degrees of exuberance, needs not to be said. There is certain to be an unusually large crowd on lower Broadway, gathered ostensibly to hear the chimes, but actually to make such a racket that the chimes can’t be heard at all.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1928, the Eagle reported, “New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Night are going to bring the greatest police cleanup of night clubs, speakeasies and criminal haunts the Greater City has ever witnessed. That, said Deputy Chief Inspector Thomas P. Cummings this afternoon, is not a mere prediction. It is just a bald statement of impending facts. While he was speaking, most of the city’s 700 detectives were sifting out the batch of 183 alleged criminals who were dragged in during the weekend roundup — the largest lineup at Police Headquarters in the city’s history. Commissioner Whalen personally directed the sending of the prisoners to the platform for inspection. ‘We are going to make the speakeasies of New York as dry as the Sahara Desert,’ Inspector Cummings continued, with a bang of his fist to emphasize his remarks.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1941, the Eagle reported, “Retracing a plea for a silent New Year’s Eve celebration, Mayor LaGuardia today at City Hall told New York City’s 7,000,000 citizens ‘to have a good time’ tonight. Casting an eye to the sky, the Mayor declared: ‘The weather is in our favor. I don’t think that [son of a bitch] can send any planes over tonight. And I mean Hitler.” … Faced with a hard, nose-to-the-grindstone period of war privation, merrymakers are preparing, as sold-out spots, hotels and theaters indicate, for a hot time to send out a year that carried America into war and to welcome one that brings promise of victory.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1941, the Eagle also reported, “Souvenir hunters today were implored to change their habits at hockey games, for if they don’t, the Chicago Blackhawks may not be able to finish out the season. The statement, aimed at certain fans who have been collecting pucks and taking them home for mantelpieces, was issued by the Blackhawks management, which was fearful of what rubber rationing might do to the nation’s winter pastime … Explaining a huge sign now being displayed in the Chicago Stadium during hockey games, a Blackhawk official said: ‘This is a great national emergency. Everything must be saved. Rubber is in great demand and we must conserve it. Pucks are made of rubber and we must conserve them, too.’”

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Gabby Douglas
Fernando Frazao/
Wikimedia Commons
Anthony Hopkins
gdcgraphics/
Wikimedia Commons

NOTABLE PEOPLE BORN ON THIS DAY include Oscar-winning actor Anthony Hopkins, who was born in  1937; Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Andy Summers (The Pollice), who was born in 1942; Oscar-winning actor Ben Kingsley, who was born in 1943; fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, who was born in 1946; “Animal House” star Tim Matheson, who was born in 1947; Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Tom Hamilton (Aerosmith), who was born in 1951; “V” star Jane Badler, who was born in 1953; “Cheers” star Bebe Neuwirth, who was born in 1958; “Top Gun” star Val Kilmer, who was born in 1959; Replacements co-founder Paul Westerberg, who was born in 1959; former N.Y. Mets pitcher Rick Aguilera, who was born in 1961; Anthrax co-founder Scott Ian, who was born in 1963; “MADtv” star Michael McDonald, who was born in 1964; “The Notebook” author Nicholas Sparks, who was born in 1965; businessman Donald Trump Jr., who was born in 1977; former NFL quarterback Jason Campbell, who was born in 1981; and gymnast and Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas, who was born in 1995.

Scott Ian
Alfred Nitsch/
Wikimedia Commons

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ON THE MONEY: The first bank in the U.S. was founded on this day in 1781. The Bank of North America was organized by Robert Morris — a signer of the Declaration of Independence — and received its charter from the Confederation Congress. It began operations in Philadelphia on Jan. 7, 1782.

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FROZEN IN TIME: The coldest game in professional football history was played on this day in 1967 when the Green Bay Packers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 21-17 to win the NFL Championship. Known as the “Ice Bowl,” the game was played in temperatures that reached minus-14 (and minus-44 windchill) in Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.

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

 

Quotable:

“There is no shortcut to happiness. You have to live your life.”

— Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins, who was born on this day in 1937


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