July 29: ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
ON THIS DAY IN 1871, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “A jolly crew, mainly consisting of residents of the Eastern District, yesterday started from Red Hook in a schooner yacht fully equipped with hooks and lines suited for shark fishing, bound for the shoreline off Rockaway where, it was anticipated, they might fall in with one or more off this ravenous class of sea monsters. In due time the vessel and its passengers reached the fishing ground all in the best of humors, and prepared for any sport that might occur. Several hooks baited with fat pork and attached to heavy, strong lines were made ready and thrown into the bay, but one only — that attached to the longest line, which was made fast to a reel at the stern — was taken by a fish of any sort. It had scarcely touched bottom when every inmate of the yacht was knocked off his feet, or brought up standing by a tremendous tugging at the line. One of the party took the reel and tried to ‘haul in.’ It required four men to bring the fish to the surface. After twenty minutes’ hard work the shark’s head was pulled above water, and fourteen or fifteen shots from revolvers were fired into it. The shark was then hoisted on deck. It had four rows of sharp teeth on the upper and three on the under jaw. Its weight was estimated at about 550 pounds. One of the party threw over a piece of bait drugged with cocculus Indicus, and toward evening a small shark was seen tumbling on the surface. The big shark was sold to a party of Germans for $15, and the jolly fishers indulged in a roaring spree before returning to Williamsburgh.”
ON THIS DAY IN 1920, the Eagle reported, “Rumors that Charles Ponzi, the Boston high financier who is reputed to have amassed a fortune of $9,000,000 in a few weeks, will open an office in New York have not been confirmed, and in the meantime the U.S. District Attorney in Manhattan is keeping close watch over the possibility of his coming here. A question that neither officials nor laymen have been able to figure out as yet, in connection with his startling entry into the financial world is: Who is losing the money that Ponzi has made?”
ON THIS DAY IN 1951, the Eagle reported, “Tagged as one of the ‘worst offenders’ of the city’s smoke control laws by Rear Admiral William S. Maxwell, U.S.N. (Ret.), deputy director of the Bureau of Smoke Control, the Consolidated Edison Company of New York declared yesterday that such a charge ‘completely overlooks’ the amount of time, effort and money the company has spent, and is spending, to combat the nuisance. Since 1936, when it was organized, through 1950, the company spent $16,000,000 for smoke control, and by 1952 will have spent $21,000,000 on that item, a spokesman revealed. Con Edison, he said, works on smoke abatement 365 days a year and has been doing it continuously since 1936, when a formal smoke control program was adopted. Prior to that time the many independent companies which later merged and became the Consolidated Edison Company of New York waged a long and arduous battle against the smoke and cinder nuisance, he said.”
ON THIS DAY IN 1952, the Eagle reported, “WASHINGTON (U.P.) — Mysterious objects swooped over the nation’s capital again early today and the Air Force called in top scientists to find out what the ‘flying saucers’ are. The Civil Aeronautics Administration traffic control center reported that its radar picked up the objects for about six straight hours early this morning. The objects, a CAA official said, were traveling about 100 to 120 miles an hour in a 10-mile arc around the capital, between Herndon, Va., and Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. It was in this same area that radar screens recorded the strange ‘targets’ the past two Saturday nights, setting off a new rash of ‘flying saucer’ rumors in the capital. Top Air Force brass has decided to get to the bottom of the mystery. Forsaking an earlier attitude that ‘there ain’t no such animal,’ they are enlisting top scientists in a major new saucer study, it was learned today.”
NOTABLE PEOPLE BORN ON THIS DAY include “Emergency!” star Robert Fuller, who was born in 1933; former U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, who was born in 1936; “Police Academy” star Leslie Easterbrook, who was born in 1949; documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, who was born in Brooklyn in 1953; Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Geddy Lee (Rush), who was born in 1953; Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Patti Scialfa (E Street Band), who was born in 1953; boxing trainer and commentator Teddy Atlas, who was born in 1956; “Baywatch” star Alexandra Paul, who was born in 1963; “Stand by Me” star Wil Wheaton, who was born in 1972; Wimbledon mixed-doubles champion Nicole Melichar-Martinez, who was born in 1993; and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who was born in 1993.
Special thanks to “Chase’s Calendar of Events” and Brooklyn Public Library.
“History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies.”
— writer Alexis de Tocqueville, who was born on this day in 1805
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