BHS & Only The Dead Know Brooklyn

Out of the photographs and other forms of illustrations at BHS, I was the most impressed by the maps of the train system.  I never fathomed how long the New York City Subway System has been in service and that its service map is so similar to the one today.  With the exception of a few added lines and new stations, the map is very similar to the one the MTA provides today.  Considering the advancements in in engineering technology in the last 40 years, its impressive to know the tracks have been around since the 20s.  I also took note of the pictures of Coney Island and other landmarks.  Just like the subway maps, majority of the environment has been preserved and remains to be used by the public (like the boardwalk and beach at Coney Island).  I think it adds a special kind of sentimental value that would not be preserved has the city been altered in its developmental structure.

in Only The Dead Know Brooklyn, “Big Guy” asked the narrator if he knew how to go to Brooklyn (in a thick Brooklynese accent).  Big Guy had the idea of discovering Brooklyn by traveling around “jus to see the place”, including wandering around the bars in Red Hook, which to most would not be a good idea.  I discovered Brooklyn in a similar way; going to new places with friends, wandering around unknown areas in search of something that we could eventually come back to.  If you can afford the train fare, you can see all of Brooklyn.

Visting BHS

Reading “Only The Dead Know Brooklyn,” was really challenging, personally, because I’m not from Brooklyn. I’m really into vintage and antique things. Seeing images and maps and ticket stubs from years before my parents were even born was pretty awesome. While looking at all of these objects, my group and I were comparing it to the story. It was kind of incredible looking at things that were in the story; it was almost like watching a stop motion, and going back in time. We got to see locations that Big Guy went to and love to explore. For example New Utrectch Ave, and there was a picture of the station in year 1962. As well as a photograph of a boy running at the Red Hook Pier. The map that we got to see was a map from 1914, and the station was not on it due to it not being built yet. I thought it was pretty awesome how we got to see before’s and after’s and we had that advantage to connect it to the story.

Brooklyn Historical Society + Only the Dead Know Brooklyn

During my visit in the Brooklyn Historical Society, i got the opportunity to view some old archival materials. These old photographs and maps had a piece of Brooklyn’s history. Right after i had gotten a glimpse of each, i remembered that some of these archives were in the story “Only the Dead Know Brooklyn”. The map that i saw was a basic map of Brooklyn’s railroad, i’m guessing the only ways of transportation back in the days. This map not only had railroads, but it also had street layouts and tunnels. Another archive that i was able to observe was three (3) New Jersey transportation ticket stubs. These stubs were for ferry rides from Brooklyn to Jersey City and back. When i saw the other 3 archives, they were photographs. One of those photographs was a photo of “New Urtrecht Ave-15th Ave Station(Sea Beach Line) taken in 1962 of June 18. The other two photographs were pictures of a place named “Hook Pier” (1978) and the famous “Coney Island”(1968). In the story of “Only the Dead Know Brooklyn”, These 3 photographs were mentioned in the story.

Brooklyn Historical Society

This picture called “View of North side of 65th st showed me how Brooklyn might have looked like in the story of, “only the dead know Brooklyn” give me a visual perception of the setting of the story where he might of gone to. the picture shows buildings and cars parked infront of the buildings. Perhaps those buildings are still there to this very day if we go visit that place may look virtually unchanged maybe different cars and more modern things but essentially the same thing.

This is the first time i have ever visited or even heard of the Brooklyn historical society. it was an interesting experience, i did not know what to expect. it sounded like a secret organization like the freemasons but it had interesting things and amazing architecture and interior design. it was like going back in time to the 1800’s or early 1900’s. also this is the first time i learn about more places in brooklyn ive never really explored brookyn like that ive never been other places other than coney island and until now downtown brooklyn when i first started in city tech


enquiringly: adverb – in an inquiring manner

From the story “Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka. “Mr. and Mrs. Samsa sat upright there in their marriage bed and had to make an effort to get over the shock caused by the cleaner before they could grasp what she was saying. But then, each from his own side, they hurried out of bed. Mr. Samsa threw the blanket over his shoulders, Mrs. Samsa just came out in her nightdress; and that is how they went into Gregor’s room. On the way they opened the door to the living room where Grete had been sleeping since the three gentlemen had moved in; she was fully dressed as if she had never been asleep, and the paleness of her face seemed to confirm this. “Dead?”, asked Mrs. Samsa, looking at the charwoman enquiringly, even though she could have checked for herself and could have known it even without checking.” (Section III -counting backward paragraph 8).

Now I understand that Mrs.Samsa is asking Grete in a suspecting tone if Gregor is dead, although she can see he is.

BHS Observation

This is my first time visiting Brooklyn Historical Society. Before i visit BHS, I thought its like a museum with exhibitation and Im very surprised that they have library inside. Beside that, the glorious architecture design really catch my eye because what i know about museum should be old and nothing special with full of historical items inside the building. After we enter the museum, the staffs came to welcome us and they are so friendly then they lead us to the 2nd FL where the library is. This library is different than the public library although it looks the same, the books and other historical materials were protected and on shelf, its very neat and organized.
I was assigned to a group and work together on the materials provided. There was a map sponsor by SHELL in 1939 labeled “Booklyn and Queens,” and im very curious so i took some time to discover it, however, i failed because the text are so small, its so difficult to read nor understand. Prior to that, i was reading a story “Only Dead Know Brooklyn” and i totally agree the main character’s conclusion that it is impossible to know Brooklyn even for those born and grown up there. Yet, the big guy in the story think he can go through Brooklyn with the map on his hand, before I saw this map i will think the same way. The big guy mention a place called “Bensenhoist” but i still dont know where is it, he also mention “Red Hook.” I learn Red Hook from the picture that its a rough neighborhood and not safe, and nothing special about that place which i dont know why big guy went there. I have one conclusion for this big guy, he is either smart or has no sense of safety.


Repugnant : adjective, means incompatible, inconsistent, hostile, exciting distaste or aversion.

In “Metamorphosis” (page 22, 1st para)  “I declare here and now”, he said, raising his hand and glancing at Gregor’s mother and sister to gain their attention too, “that with regard to the repugnant conditions that prevail in this flat and with this family”- here he looked briefly but decisively at the floor – “I give immediate notice on my room. For the days that I have been living here I will, of course, pay nothing at all, on the contrary I will consider whether to proceed with some kind of action for damages from you, and believe me it would be very easy to set out the grounds for such an action.”