The Map

The map at the Brooklyn Historical Society puzzled my eyes with so much intersections and crossroads. I tried to find the place called ‘Bensonhoist’ mentioned in the essay “Only the Dead know Brooklyn”.  If there was no map at all, it was some kind of impossible task to do. The guy was smart enough to use the map and the question about swimming that relates to the survival. It is obvious that even though a person born in Brooklyn would be lost without a map. For instance, if a person does not know how to swim would surely be drown. In 1935, maybe the map was not popular in use.

Essay #1, blogging about our first BHS visit, and more

Essay #1:

Essay #1 is due on Monday, but I haven’t heard much about Part 2–how is it going? Please bring a paper copy of both parts of Essay #1 to class on Monday. Once i see that everyone has these materials, I will ask you to do some reflective writing about your writing process and will then provide directions for submitting your work electronically.

If you still have questions about Essay #1, please ask them! I know there must be questions, and better to be brave and ask them now than wonder and guess and have no guidance.

Blogging for homework:

At the Brooklyn Historical Society on Wednesday, I asked you to blog for homework. I’ve added some more suggestions to the instructions, so this might be more helpful:

After class, write a blog post in which you elaborate on the materials you examined in class. You might begin with your one-sentence presentation. If your item can be posted on the blog, please share the photograph; if it can’t, you might describe it for your readers. This blog post is the place to say all the smart things you observed and interpreted but didn’t have a chance to present to the class. You can reflect further on the questions of how the “big guy” in “Only the Dead Know Brooklyn” gets to know Brooklyn, and how you have, or you might think about what was missing from our exploration at BHS, what you would have liked to examine. This blog post could also be the chance for you to include other materials that you know about or seek out. Remember to include a citation for any materials you use, including the items from BHS and “Only the Dead Know Brooklyn.” Choose the category Homework, and tag your post with whatever tags you think represent your work.

For those of you who missed class, please use the BHS visit 1 handout I distributed at BHS and any of the following materials to complete the assignment:

Map of the New York City subway system. 1955. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.

Who Lives Where. Guenter Vollath. 1985. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection. (not the first map in the post)

Brooklyn and how to get to the World’s Fair. 1939. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection. (first map)

Dry Dock 1, 1928, v1973.5.875; Photography Collection; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Coney Island Beach, ca. 1968, v1988.12.41; Otto Dreschmeyer Brooklyn Slides Collection, V1988.012; Brooklyn Historical Society.

And more:

We will begin blogging in a rotating cycle again, so if you have any other requests or suggestions, please let me know what they are. Our next round of blogging will be geared toward preparing for the midterm exam, which will be on 3/20 in class.

“Only the Dead Know Brooklyn”

After visiting the Brooklyn Historical Society, it helped me understand and know more about the place Brooklyn. All the information and images we saw from the BHS, it showed us how the Brooklyn was looked very long time ago. From looking at the “Atlas of New Utrecht,” I saw a map of part of Brooklyn. From the map I found the place which the “big guy” from the story is looking for. In the story, he was trying to find out how to get to 18th Avenue and 67th Street. From the map, I can located the street the “big guy” is looking for, but unfortunately it’s only a map so I don’t know what exactly the place is or has. I was surprised not to see the details of the street on this map that shows only street and avenue numbers. This map was from the 1874 time period. It makes me wonder what is it there that made the “big guy” wanted to visit.

I also looked that the image of 71st Street Station, West End line from 1958. From this picture compare to this station in 2013, I can tell there isn’t much big difference between now and then. The picture was taken from looking across tracks to Northwest. In the picture, there aren’t much detail to describe. I can only tell there are 3 tracks in the station. There are 2 sides platform. From looking across, I can see some houses behind the station.

From all the pictures and information we saw from the Brooklyn Historical Society. I think the “big guy” in the story attempted to know Brooklyn from the map that he has. I think he is trying to get to know more about Brooklyn by himself personally visit the places that he interested in. In the story he didn’t know how dangerous he was that he was in the Red Hook at night alone and he still wants to continue his adventure of getting to know Brooklyn. I didn’t know much about Brooklyn before I visit the Brooklyn Historical Society, but after the visit I had known a little more about Brooklyn. From the picture of 71st Street Station, I know the station didn’t change much between now and then. Also from the map, some places are divided into different territories like some places are belong to who or those places are belong to someone else.


[71st Street station, West End line, BMT], 1958, V1974.4.469; John D. Morrell photographs, ARC.005; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Atlas of New Utrecht Kings County, New York, 1847. Brooklyn Historical Society]