Sunday, July 31, 2011

Free Bathing in Brooklyn

Long story short, to keep people cool (and hygienic!) they allowed free bathing around Brooklyn. Bathing on Coney Island was something few could afford, a fact which gives a bit of a socialist bent to the end of the story...

City News & Gossip

KEEP COOL.--Among the proceedings of the Common Council the other evening, was the adoption of a resolution offered by Ald. Church, making the waters around Brooklyn and in the bay free to bathers, using the proper habiliments. This is a good move. Next to the eleventh commandment of minding your own business, or perhaps before it, cleanliness is a virtue that should be encouraged. And not only for the sake of individual comfort, but--in these days of epidemical disease--for that of the public good. Now, this measure will afford every facility for an occasional plunge into the briny sea, and therefore we hail it, as an additional inducement to the attainment and cultivation of this virtue.

Besides, it brings the advantages of the fashionable watering places on the sea shore to the doors of our community--less the expense. Notwithstanding the number and proximity of these summer resorts, there are many of our citizens whose business will not allow them to be absent from the city even in the season of the dog-star. In fact, those who can afford this indulgence are among the favored few ; the visits of the many to such places as Coney Island, must be rare and of brief duration. This is the hard necessity of the world, which confronts us daily in a thousand aspects, and which we must meet and combat. If our will were consulted, this condition of things would not continue. Every man should have sufficient leisure to refresh mind and body, weary from the ever recurring requirements of life. There would be neither over grown wealth in the world, nor starving poverty ; but "the good time coming" should be realized forthwith. If they cannot be, at least for the present, if we all can't avail ourselves of the simple enjoyments afforded by a country excursion, but must stick at our respective desks and workshops, so be it. But let the working-man have the chance, if possible, of preserving his physical energy so as to withstand this necessity for its continual exertion. Let there be in all our crowded cities free baths, or the facility for bathing without expense. Frequent immersion will contribute above all other prescriptions to a "sound mind in a sound body," and after all, in this world the essential requisites are health and a clear conscience.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Thursday, July 11, 1850

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ralph Waldo Emerson on Coney Island - 1850


....RALPH WALDO EMERSON, the lecturer, has been visiting the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky, and is now voyaging to the Mississippi to the Falls of St. Anthony, from whence he will proceed to Coney Island.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Saturday, July 6, 1850

Emerson was evidently on the lecture circuit from 1839 to 1872.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, I love you, but you're not as pun-ny as you think.

City News & Gossip

"INDEPENDENT REFORM MOVEMENT."--A caucus of the friends of a change in the weather will convene at Coney Island this evening, at 7 o'clock.--The Governor of that interesting region is expected to preside. The tide of public clam-or runs high among the inhabitants, and they will move ever muscle to effect this reform. The country must be saved.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Saturday, July 6, 1850

Can't find a thing about what they were talking about.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nature on the Way to Coney Island - 1850

It's summertime, 1850, and the masses are still flocking to Coney...

We made a sortie into the country yesterday afternoon, in the direction of Coney Island, and took full indemnity for another week of toil. There is the spot for those who love a quiet cot with a distant view of the changing sea ; not to speak of roasted clams and cool breezes. There is no truth in the rumor that the rush to the Island has affected the supply of either of these luxuries ; or that the sea girt shore of Rockaway has "caved in" to the mysterious knockings of the ocean. On the contrary, several new clam placers have been discovered, any quantity of sea-breeze is kept constantly on hand, and the beach, although frequently submerged, still holds at bay the further encroachment of the white crested surf. Pleasant it is of a summer's evening to look on that scene--the blue sky and the blue waters blending whitely in the horizon, while flashing sails come and go in the far offing, now growing upon your sight and again fading into the dim distance, like the hops of youth. All the while, the surf is sounding the majestic hymn which it commenced years before either you, reader ! or I was ushered into this mundane sphere and which it will probably continue for some time after we shall have therein given our last kick. To defer that mournful catastrophe to a distant date, go with a friend, or several of them--the more the better--to that charming sandhill and take a tumble in the surf among the porpoises. It is a specific that will wash the outer man from material stains and will renovate the inner almost as well as one of Dr. Beecher's sermons.--Feeling charitably disposed, we commend it in both senses, to the people of the Advertiser.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Monday, July 1, 1850

I would assume they're talking about Henry Ward Beecher. In his sermon "Popular Amusements", book dated 1896, Dr. Beecher condemns certain pleasures like the circus and theater, arguing that God made a world more beautiful and the acts of nations and societies are far more dramatic. More predictably, he also condemns horse racing (and especially that women shouldn't witness it!) and gambling. As a writer I don't really care for his likening the theater to the guillotine (!).

I'd also assume the Brooklyn Advertiser probably said something negative about the path to Coney Island.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fishing for a Story on Coney Island - 1850

I'm not certain the Brooklyn Eagle staffer even visited Coney Island here; he or she spends the article making puns and deriding the Advertiser.

How did Coney Island get its name, again?

City News & Gossip

Our trip to Coney Island.

Through the kindness of a friend, we were treated, yesterday afternoon, to a delightful ride to Coney Island, the same being our first advent from the bricks and mortar of Brooklyn to any of the adjacent localities of Long Island. We were delighted with the excursion, and took mental notes by the way, from which we shall probably, at no distant day, concoct a sentimental description immeasurably surpassing any of the Advertiser's vivid descriptions of "Journeys to Fort Greene."

Coney Island is so named from the immense quantities of " Old Cogniac" consumed within its borders during the summer months. Its chief productions appear to be clams and bricks--the latter article being generally carried in the hats of the visitors. It is bounded on one side by a toll gate, and on the other by the " Oceanic House." The inhabitants are generally of a sandy complexion, particularly during the prevalence of high winds. The visiters (sic) appear to get along swimmingly, a surf-it of salt water being always at command. The sea, during the bathing seas-on, keeps herself very tide-y, though occasionally indulging in a little "heavy wet. The outlines of Sandy hook loom up in the blue distance, apparently rejoicing in the embrace of that paragon of States, gigantic little "Jarsey," and waving her green palms in a joyous welcome to the "Homeward bound."

But we are waxing sentimental, a luxury of feeling not to be indulged during our sanguinary warfare with the allied army of the Brooklyn Star. Tears are unseemly in the eye of the mailed warrior, and hastily dashing the truant drop from our war embrowned visage, we shout, "Ho ! Eagle to the resuce ! and poise our lance once more for a tilt at the coonskin shield of our wrathful adversary.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Friday, June 28, 1850

I couldn't find much reason for the enmity between the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and the Brooklyn Advertiser. The Eagle appeared to be a Democrat newspaper (Walt Whitman, Democrat, was editor a couple years prior) while a few sites say the Advertiser was a Whig publication? It appears neither the Whigs nor the Brooklyn Advertiser really exist in America anymore...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

More Coney Island Roads

More Coney roads...

NOTICE is hereby given that on the eight day of June, A.D., 1850, at the office of John Vanderbilt, No. 3 Front street, Brooklyn, books will be opened for the purchase of subscribing to the stock of a Plank Road Company--to construct a Plank Road from or in the city of Brooklyn through the towns of Flatbush, New Utrecht and Gravesend to the Atlantic Ocean, at Coney Island.

Dated May 24, 1850

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Saturday, May 25, 1850 (and many other days)

If Forgotten New York is right, a Plank Road (perhaps this very road?) became Coney Island Avenue, and was serviced by a horse-powered street railway.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Slow News Days - Coney Island 1850

Welcome to Coney Island, 1850!

Reported for the Brooklyn eagle.
NATURAL HISTORY DEPARTMENT of the Brooklyn Institute, March 28th, 1850.

Dr. McPhil, presiding.

Julien Hooper, in the absence of the Secretary, acted as such, pro tem...

Fossils.--Mr. King also presented what was supposed to be a large fungus, partially fossilized ; picked up on Coney Island : it was referred to Mr. John Hooper and Mr. Cl Congdon for examination...

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Thursday, March 14, 1850

Yeah, winter and spring tend to be slow news seasons for Coney Island. Let's see if we can find some action...


John McGee, Levi Sabin, Michael Knowland, Peter Arnold, Chas. Swift and Michael Brooks were arrested by officer Higgins upon the complaint of H B Hewlett, who charges them with having burglariously entered his premises known as the "Governor's Mansion" on Coney Island.--The parties were held to bail in the sum of $250 each for their appearance.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Tuesday, April 23, 1850

I'd imagine this is the same Officer Higgins who cited several burglars who beat a man the previous year.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Gravesend and Coney-Island Bridge and Road Co. - 1849

Gravesend and Coney-Island Bridge and Road Co.

NOTICE--An election for Five Directors of the above Company will be held at the house of James W. Cropsey, Coney Island, on SATURDAY, October 6th, at 3 o'clock, P.M. Gravesend, Sept. 11, 1849

s13 2awd&3tw SAM'L G. STRYKER, Sec'y

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Friday, September 13, 1849 (and many days thereafter)

I never realized that contractions seem to be the acronyms of the 1840s. Which is weirder? Sam'l, or LOL?

From Laws of the State of New York (Chapter 276) it appears the company was actually incorporated in 1823, and there was this amendment April 10, 1850:

The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows :

§1. The sixth section of the act entitled "An act to incorporate the Gravesend and Coney Island Bridge and Road Company," passed 22d March 1823, is hereby amended so as to read as follows: That as soon as said bridge, causeway and road shall be completed, the company hereby incorporated shall be entitled to receive as toll, at a gate to be erected on said bridge or road for every coach, coachee, phaeton, chariot, barouche, or curricle drawn by two horses, ten cents; for every one-horse pleasure wagon, carriage, chaise, gig, or sulkey, five cents; for every common wagon or other four-wheeled vehicle, not before mentioned in this act, five cents; for every horse and rider, three cents.

§2. This act shall take effect on the first day of May one thousand eight hundred and fifty.

--Laws of the State of New York

REPORTS.--By Mr. White a bill to amend the charter of the Gravesend and Coney Island Road and Bridge Co.....

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Thursday, February 14, 1850

It appears this company built the toll road that led to Coney Island back when it was an island, in 1829! See Forgotten New York's tour of Shell Road.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mob on Coney Island and Racism - 1849

I find this painful to read, to be honest--some violence and the racism at the start of the last paragraph turns my stomach. Absolutely no idea what actually happened here, either. But in the interest of reporting history accurately....

And part of this one was illegible.

JUSUICES (?) COURT.--Before Justice Winslow.--The people vs. Thomas Barlow, George Hewlett, Samuel Powers and Jacob Anderson.--These parties (all colored individuals) were brought into court, having been arrested at Coney Island by officer Hegeman and deputy sheriff Bird, on a charge of burglary, in breaking and entering the house of Israel Peterson at Gravesend, Coney Island, on the 18th of Aug. last.

Alonzo Myers being sworn for the (illegible)sed as follows:

I live at Coney Island Point (illegible) follow cleaning and such like, (illegible) Aug. last, I was sleeping at the house of Israel Peterson, my own shanty having been torn down by a mob. I know the deponents, Thomas Barlow, George Hewlett, Samuel Powers and Jacob Anderson. Thomas Barlow is one of the number that tore down my shanty the same day, about dusk.--I was asleep on the chest, which was to be my bed for the night, when I was awoke by the noise of these men outside the house, who were cursing and swearing and asking for me ; swearing they would kill me. Hearing that noise I crawled under the bed, when they forced open the door, breaking two buttons off, and entering the house. When they found me under the bed I crawled out. I went up stairs fearing them, but soon came down again, when I was clinched by Samuel Powers, who dragged me out. They were all in the house together assisting each other. After they got me out, they pitched me down the hill and struck me with their fists and kicked me and knocked me with boards. They were all engaged in beating me. After they had knocked me down and beaten me until I was blind, they marched me down towards the shanty, beating and kicking me all the way. After I had got to my shanty that had been torn down they swore they would kill me, if I did not leave the Point. They knocked me down and beat me with boards and threw timbers on me until Israel Peterson came down and persuaded them to let me alone. I then crawled away on my hands and knees, and laid there until near morning when Mrs. Peterson assisted me to get to the house, where I was confined nearly a week.

Patience Peterson, a woman of the thick and flat nose tribe, and who felt about happy in consequence of the liquor she had imbibed for the purpose of keeping her spirits up, gave in her testimony in the most positive manner, which was in sub-substance similar to the foregoing. The parties were all held to answer the charge at a higher court. It is not by any means certain that a burglary was really intended, although so considered in the eye of the law. There are several other charges against these parties and ten or eleven others which will be investigated in due time...

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Friday, September 7, 1849

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cholera, Oceanic House fight

New York.

The Board of Health of New York report 11 deaths by cholera within the last 24 hours, ending to-day at noon, (Aug. 30) 5 of which were in the hospital and 6 in private practice.

CHOLERA IN SING SING.--We learn from the Heaald (sic?) that the Cholera, which made such fearful havoc at Sing Sing, a few days ago has abated.--It was mostly confined to a small space below the hill. Since the Cholera has began to decrease, dysentery has set in and several cases have been very severe.

There were ten deaths by Cholera in Boston yesterday.

There has been another row at the Oceanic House, Coney Island. A servant of Mr. Fanning C. Tucker struck a Mr. Ackerman, and nearly killed him. Tucker did not discharge the servant, but retained him in his servant and immediately after his brutal conduct brought him to the table to wait on his family. The boarders insisted on his being expelled from the room, and would not sit at the table until he was withdrawn. At the last advices an officer was in search of the offender, but it was supposed that Mr. Tucker had concealed him, as he could not be found.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Thursday, August 30, 1849

I wonder if "another row" refers to the row in 1848.

The last sale-type notice I saw in the Brooklyn Eagle regarding the Oceanic House was dated August 18, 1849. I would imagine it was open through much of summer 1849, regardless of the sale notices, but I don't know...lots of conflicting information. At least, the Oceanic House seemed to be the place to be on Coney in 1848, and maybe 1849....

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Meet Your Mate at Coney Island - 1849

Just when you thought things were sober in Coney Island due to the cholera in New York City, comes this short but sweet piece.

CONEY ISLAND.--It is said that young ladies pick up husbands at Coney Island by coming near getting drowned. Their deliverers becomes (sic) their wooers.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Thursday, August 23, 1849

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Demand for a Road to Coney - 1849

This honestly sounded to me like a satire on silly women to me, at first, but it turns out the writer appears to be arguing that there needs to be a good, free road to Coney Island.....unless it's the most extensive satire I've seen yet.

MR. EDITOR.--On visiting Coney Island a few days ago, to snuff for a time, the ocean breezes, and to rid myself of the pent up air of the city, I was suddenly placed in the midst of a company who had just reached the Island, from the cities of New York and Brooklyn. The party, on alighting from their vehicles, were in apparently great uneasiness. There was a great consternation among the ladies, in reference to their dresses, which had been thoroughly sprinkled with salt water, in wading the causeway to the Coney Island bridge ; and there was just as anxious an inquiry, whether salt water would stain and spoil fine silks and shawls, and other articles of dress, as was formerly on foot, whether salt petre would explode. But the soiled and sponged dresses were not the only spectacle. The carriages, harness and trappings of the horses, exhibited a sad appearance. The labor of the coachman and the stable keeper, was completely obscured by the thick coat of black sand which covered them : adhereing (sic), in consequence of the depth of water through which they were obligated to pass and wade. And it is to be recollected that for the privilege of being in this state, each vehicle of the party were taxed with the enormous toll of three shillings; and in one case four shillings.--Now Mr. Editor, as one of the great public, I would ask, is not this a great imposition on those who visit our sea-coast to obtain the benefit of the sea-air. I should have here added, that as we were sympathising with each other upon our situation, a gentleman stepped up, and by way of consolation, told us that certain gentlemen of your city had been appointed to lay out a road to Coney Island or to some point in Gravesend, the township in which the island is situated. Ought they not to run the road to the island, so that the public at large can enjoy its benefits ? I trust that the commissioners on that road may have their eyes steadily fixed on the public good, regardless of private interest or the franchises and privileges of a chartered company--excepting so far as they do not conflict with the great public interests. That they will reflect that the small country towns, with their mere handfull of inhabitants, are not the only persons to be consulted, but will bear in mind that there are hundreds, nay thousands, in the cities above mentioned, who seek the ocean air at Coney Island. And I would further suggest whether the commissioners should not consider--whether the breezes of the free ocean, admitted to be free to all, ought not to be enjoyed without paying tribute to an unincorporated company, who for a quarter of a century have been preying on the community ? This, Mr. Editor, may be strong language, but you will say it is justifiable when you look at the state of the causeway, which is not only uncomfortable and annoying to travel upon, but decidedly injurious to the property of the traveller and passer by.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Wednesday, August 22, 1849

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


There's SO little on Coney Island in the Brooklyn Eagle from 1849, except for the ubiquitous mortgage sales for the Oceanic House.

THE SHORE.--From what we saw in a recent pleasant drive along the shore, we infer that the Long Island houses are "patronized" this season about as well as any other region. Indeed there is great complaints (sic) that the travel up the Hudson and on the great rail road lines has been unusually light, and that people do not move about so freely as has been the custom. On the Island, however, the houses are generally full, and some of them are packed. The houses at Fort Hamilton, the Bath House, the houses at Coney Island and every where else in the vicinity of New York are filled with the joyous and the gay ; and are centres of life and attraction, of animation and bustle, such as we seldom see, even when sickness and gloom do not hang so heavily over the land. Indeed these are glorious places to spend the summer months, and those who go chasing after pleasure over long lines of railroad and through distant gorges of mountains would be far more likely to find it on the sea girt shore of our own elongated Island.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Friday, Thursday, August 16, 1849 (and other days)

So reasons for the lack of Coney Island articles in 1849 seem to be a combination of the epidemic in New York (see Cholera in Nineteenth Century New York) and perhaps the Oceanic House's closure. But it's unclear that patronage at Coney Island was down (except due to fewer rooms available)...could be one of those instances when the news is sober so they don't want to report more cheerful/frivolous topics.

The Cholera in Nineteenth Century New York site notes that people who could afford to flee the city, did. Coney Island would probably be a good place to flee.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Announcing the Oceanic House

to his friends and the fashionable and travelling public, that he has leased the OCEANIC HOUSE, Coney Island, and designs opening it for the reception of boarders and visiters early in June. This House is new, and finely located, being but two miles from the Point, and facing the Ocean. It commands an extended view of the Sea, the Bay and the Narrows, and of the vessels coming into and leaving port. The House is large and well arranged, being capable of accomodating several hundred boarders, and is withal one of the pleasantest summer retreats within fifty miles of the great metropolis, whilst the distance (only eight mils from New York and Brooklyn) is but an hour's journey by land or water. The Tables will be in accordance with the best style, and provided with the choicest selections from the New York markets. The advantages for Sea Bathing are unsurpassed. Every attention will be directed to the wants and comforts of the guests of the House.

Notice - Persons desirous of taking rooms at the above Establishment will please write to the subscriber, at Coney Island.

American & Commercial Daily Advertiser - June 26, 1849

The announcement conflicts with the 1884 A history of the town of Gravesend, N.Y. by A. P. (Austin Parsons).

In October, 1847, Dr. Allen Clarke, seeing the desirability of Coney Island as a summer resort, bought a piece of ground of Mr. Court Van Sicklen (by giving a mortgage on it), and, just north of the Coney Island House, the "Oceanic" was erected, run for a season, and burned down. It was said it caught fire accidentally, and some people believed it. The property passed into the hands of Judge John Vanderbilt, who built another—a larger and a better hotel—on the site of the former, and it became a very fashionable resort; but, after a few years of varying success, it shared the common fate of sea-side resorts—it burned down. The premises are now incorporated with those of the old Coney Island House.

--A history of the town of Gravesend, N.Y. by A. P. (Austin Parsons).

Also, the aforementioned mortgage sale articles are continuing in the Brooklyn Eagle well after June 1849...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Coney Island cure?

Coney Island link to the cholera that was evidently going around New York...we'll see more soon.

NEWS FROM NEW YORK.--In Wednesday's Journal of Com'rce, under the head of "Brooklyn news," Justice King was sent on his "winding way" to the Sulpher (sic) Springs for the benefit of his health. Knowing that he was in his seat on Monday, we expected that he had had another attack and was compelled suddenly to lave, but to our surprise and gratification we found him in his seat yesterday, engaged in the duties of his office, apparently in very good health and much improved by an excursion to Coney Island, where he had been to snuff the sea breeze. His leaving his own room and getting up stairs for a little while, in order to have a floor laid, was probably the cause of the announcement. Sulphur is said to be a very good preventative for the cholera, but the justice is not yet frightened, and will not desert his post.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Friday, Saturday, June 16, 1849

Couldn't find any info on who Justice King was, though.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sale of Oceanic House and Bowling Alley Dispute - 1849

Despite claims that Coney closes after Labor Day, I saw ads for the Oceanic House through Friday, September 15, 1848. That pretty much closes out 1848!

Early 1849 is mostly about foreclosures and such, including notices about the Oceanic House?

At 12 o'clock at the Franklin House.
Supreme court, in equity--under direction of Dan'l Van Voorhis, sheriff--Oceanic House--all that piece of land on Coney Island township of Gravesend, containing 2 1-10th acres--together with buildings erected thereon known as the Oceanic House. For particulars see sheriff's advt in Eagle

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Friday, Saturday, April 21, 1849 (and many other days)

Maybe the "ad" they refer to is a Legal Notice?

Legal Notices

SUPREME COURT--Joshua Tomlinson & Chalk ley I. Wills (?) against Allen Clark and Emily his wife and others. RICHARD B. KIMBALL, Attorney.--

In pursuance of a judgment order of this court made in the above entitled action, bearing date the 24th date of February, 1849, I will sell at the Franklin House, No. 15 Fulton Street in the city of Brooklyn, on the 10th day of April, 1849, at 12 o'clock at noon of that day, the following lands and premises--

All that certain piece or parcel of land situate, lying and being at Coney Island, in the town of Gravesend, county of Kings and state aforesaid, bounded and described as follows, to wit : commencing at a point on the easterly side of the Coney Island Bridge Company's turnpike road at a white oak stake adjoining the land now of late of Maria Lott wife of Peter Lott, and running thence easterly alongsaid Maria Lott's land two hundred and forty two feet eight inches to the northeasterly corner of a certain workshop now of late belonging to said Maria wife of said Peter Lott; thence northerly two hundred and eighty six feet to a white oak stake, thence westerly four hundred feet to a white oak stake on the easterly side of said turnpike road, distant two hundred and fifty feet northerly from said first mentioned stake, thence southerly and along the easterly line of the said turnpike road two hundred and fifty feet to the place of beginning--containing two acres and one tenth of an acre, be the same more or less--being the same premises conveyed to said Allen Clark by Court Van Sicklen and Catharine his wife, by deed, dated October 13, 1847, and recorded in Kings county Clerk's office in Iiber (sp?) 169 of con , page 302.

Together with all and singular the tenements, hereditaments and appurtenances thereun o belonging or in anywise appertaining. Dated Brooklyn, Feb. 24, 1849

f26 lawts DANIEL VAN VOORHIS, Sheriff.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Friday, Monday, April 16, 1849 (and other days)

In a vain attempt to find something else interesting, I continued on. There's an article from June 9, 1849, publishing someone's letters from Brazil dated 1840...they call the white sand where they land "Coney Island sand"...

OK; here is one I'd like to hear more about.

CIRCUIT COURT.--Hon. N. B. Morse.--John J. Sprowl against Hiram R. Howlett, action in relation to a bowling alley at Coney Island. Verdict of the jury--that the plaintiff is entitled to the possession of the property and $109 damages and 6 cents cost. Theodore Sedgewick for pltf. and N. F. Waring for deft....

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Friday, Saturday, June 16, 1849

Couldn't find any info on that, though.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Attack at the Oceanic House

City News and Gossip

DIFFICULTY AT CONEY ISLAND.--A row occurred at the Oceanic House during a ball on Friday night last, which has caused considerable commotion among those whose families were staying there and resulted in severe if not dangerous injuries to James Cozine, an inhabitant of Gravesend. Much mystery pervades the affair. no reliable particulars having yet transpired here. Mr. Clark the proprietor preferred a police complaint against Cozine on Saturday, and stated that the latter attempted to enter the ball room without his coat, and that this was the cause of the affray. Mr. Cozine, on the other hand, states that he merely desired to hand his wife and daughters their ball tickets and retire, but that he was seized and pushed down stairs by a door keeper whose coat he accidentally tore. Three or four hours afterward while Cozine was sitting in the barroom, a great outcry was raised, and on rushing in to see what was the cause, he was struck with a bottle which cut through his hat, and inflicted a serious wound on his forehead, from the effect of which he is now suffering. From what cause the last row arose, or what was done, will transpire on the forthcoming police investigation. All, however, agree that it was a serious affray, in which the waiters of the establishment seemed to be principally engaged.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Friday, August 25, 1848

In 1845, at least, James Cozine was the coroner of Gravesend! See Mystery on Coney Island and The Sloop Victoria He's also cited as such on Page 425 of The New York State Register for 1845!

It looks like by October 1848, however, he may not have been the coroner. The Board of Supervisors meeting from October 3, 1848:

Mr. Bergen from the com. on accounts reported the following county bills which were severally ordered paid as reported: J. Cozine, straw for jail $8,32....G A Abraham, coroner, $140..."

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Friday, October 6, 1848

(J. Cozine could very well be Jacob Cozine, who was mentioned in that paper November 3, 1848, and that he had a meadow....)

Follow-up stories:

Some of the inadvertent statements of our cotemporaries have been of a most amusing character recently. For instance, the Evening Star informed its readers on Saturday, in giving an account of a row at Coney Island, that a bottle which was hurled, struck a man on both sides of his head. It must have been of a different shape from ordinary bottles. The Tribune in its "Brooklyn affairs," stated a few days since, that the property of the Misses Van Cleef was "insured in the Brooklyn Savings Bank." This was a highly interesting piece of news to the directors of that institution....

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Friday, August 31, 1848

In a vain attempt at brevity, I'll stop there, but the article goes on to outline numerous errors in other papers! And evidently "cotemporary" is another word for "contemporary."

The bottle dispute continues:

A BOTTLE HOLDER.--The genius of the Star waxeth savage and is inclined to be belligerent.--The other day he, or the literary police justice who does up some brilliant scribblings for that paper, proposed to horsewhip the editors, proprietors, devils and all hands attached to the other Brooklyn press, because some unknown but obnoxious person was allowed to write for the latter. The bellicosity of our most amiable cotemporary has assumed another but not less violent phase, and now, forsooth, because "many of the reports of the Eagle are identical with those of the Advertiser," and because the Eagle has the presumption to "make merry with that bottle which struck Mr. Cozine on both sides of the head," our stelier (sp?) friend proposes to prove on our devoted pate that bottles can be made to strike both sides of a head, if the editor of the Advertiser will lend him a bottle.

Having no doubt of the complaisance of the latter editor, we accept the challenge thus plainly extended. The time for this interesting skirmish shall be high noon, to-morrow ; place, the scales of Justice, on the cupola of the city hall ; weapons, junk bottles ; and the principals to be the bottleholders. It is a rather hazardous venture on the part of the individual who at present writes himself the "editor and proprietor" of the Star to fight with a bottle. One would reasonably suppose that the long contest he has already had with that instrument would satisfy any man whose desires are not of an inordinate nature. We hope that he may not repent of his temerity, and endeavor to emulate Hudibras in thinking that

"He who fights and runs away
May live to fight another day,"

for when struck with a bottle he will find it rather difficult to run away. We beg leave, in conclusion, to correct one very little error which our would-be antagonist has fallen into. He says he understood that the bottle which struck Mr. Cozine on "both sides" was held by another man. This is ingenious ; but it won't do, Mr. Star. You happened, unfortunately for your ingenuity, to state either directly or indirectly that "that bottle" was thrown at Mr. Cozine. How is that?

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Thursday, August 31, 1848

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Aldermen on Coney - 1848

Another example of 1840s satire.

ALDERMANIC SPORTS FOR AUGUST.--A special meeting of the common council was held yesterday for the purpose--of proceeding in a private capacity to Coney Island to ascertain whether the clams of that region had deteriorated in quality since their last visit. This they did in company with other gentlement, in Husted and Kendall's big stage, and as we are informed had a right merry time. After sufficient discussion in committee of the whole, a resolution was, (or ought to have been) passed, that clams are rather pleasant fodder. We coincide in that resolution, nem clam.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Friday, August 25, 1848

Alderman is kind of an old-timey-sounding term, isn't it? The definition meant here is likely talking about city legislators (see Miriam-Webster's definition).

"Nem clam" is a pun, it appears. "Nem. con." is a Latin abbreviation for "without dissent."

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fathers acting like children on Coney - 1848

Again, even in the 1840s, Coney was known as a place for adults to act like kids.

City News and Gossip

CONEY ISLAND.--To-day the New York city fathers take a ride down to Coney Island, in order to get a snuff of the ocean breeze. We do not know of a more delightful place to luxuriate for an afternoon, and we therefore commend the taste of the fathers. But Coney Island is also a place for the daughters and the sons--for frolicksome girls and thoughtless gay fellows who hang on the smiles of the fair, and in this sunny weather seek to dream away the hours far from the haunts of business and the scenes of toil. There are many such staying at the different houses on this attractive shore, and many others who ride down thither of an afternoon to smell the salt air and wash themselves in the restless surf.

Yesterday afternoon quite a large party of officials and non-officials went thitherward from this city in the large stage of Husted & Kendall, drawn by six horses, and accompanied by a tender with four horses. We saw in the party quite a sprinkling of aldermen, and others connected with the city government, the two halves of the city printer, and a number of distinguished citizens of both political parties.

We hear, to-day, that they took up their quarters at Wyckoff's and, for a season, sunk the dignity of fathers and assumed the character of children.--They washed, bathed, ran races on the sand, cracked jokes, told stories, gestated in the swings, jumped, wrestled, and frolicked ; and concluded the day's entertainment by a clam bake which, it is said, Wyckoff knows how to get up secundum artem. They returned last night at about ten o'clock, in as good condition as could be expected, and speak highly of the advantages of a ride to Coney Island this fine weather. One of the sages of Scotland remarked that, on some occasions, the man that is wise is a fool. We suspect that the learned Scot must have had a dim vision of these rides to Coney Island when he uttered that. At any rate we very much doubt whether the folly of wisdom could be charged against the party of Brooklynites who bivouacked at Coney Island yesterday.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Wednesday, August 9, 1848

Yes, it did say "snuff"! This entry references a hotel that may have been Wyckoff's.

Back in the day, literate readers were a lot more familiar with Latin. Nowadays, we are blessed to have Google. Secundum artem evidently means "according to the art" per this blog named after the phrase, at least.