Today Al Reach is largely a forgotten figure here in North Brooklyn where he began his baseball career, But Reach not only became the first openly professional baseball player in 1864, but he also went on to co-found the Philadelphia Phillies and become a millionaire – not bad for an immigrant kid who began life working twelve hour days in a Greenpoint shipyard.
Reach was born in 1840 in London, England, but he followed his father to America and lived in Williamsburg. When Reach was a teenager in the 1850’s, the East River was lined with shipyards and Reach got a job doing the grueling work of a shipwright, working ten to twelve hours a day in the days before power tools.
Baseball was also exploding on the scene in America, but nowhere was the sport more popular than here in Brooklyn. Most of the teams were composed of the sons of well-to-do families who could allow their sons the leisure to play the game. Greenpoint also formed a team, but it was not composed of rich kids sons. Its team, the Eckford Club, was made up of shipwrights like Reach who worked 60 to 72 hours per week. Though they had little time to practice, the grueling nature of their work left them very strong and fit and it is little wonder that the team proved successful.
Reach was never a great power hitter, but he was a great fielder. Many sources give him credit for being the first baseman who for the first time played off the bag allowing him to turn balls hit through the infield into outs.
Baseball was evolving in the 1850s and there is a lot of conjecture about the rules of the game. Pitching was underhand and many of the modern pitches had yet to be born. The game was still amateur and players played simply for love of the game. The Civil War interrupted baseball for many players, but the Eckford Club still played on and in 1862 and 1863 the Greenpoint club won the National title, making them the best club in America, but money would soon destroy the proud local baseball team.
The 1862 and 1863 championships were held at the Union Grounds in Williamsburg, the first fully enclosed baseball stadium. The Eckford Club’s victory on its home grounds was the cause for jubilant celebrations. The thousands of fans who showed up for the championship showed observers there was the potential for ticket money in baseball. Teams began to charge and offer players money under the table to join their squads. Continue reading →
Experts on soil contaminants will answer your questions and help interpret soil test results; a 40-pound bag of compost will be available to take home for free.
Attendees should be at least 18 years old and must have completed the GCEF Soil Safety Basics workshop in advance. Contact workshop organizer, Lael Goodman ([email protected]), for permission to enroll if you have not taken the Soil Safety Basics workshop.
Some Williamsburg parents disagree with the legality of the measure mandating vaccines in New York City and filed a lawsuit against the city on Monday citing “insufficient evidence of a measles outbreak or dangerous epidemic,” the NY Times reports.
A handful of new “affordable” apartments have hit the market via the NYC Housing Connect lottery. The former three-story mixed-use building at 196 Freeman St. between Manhattan Avenue and Mcguinness Boulevard was demolished to make way for the construction of the new four-story building with 10 apartments; apply by May 6th.
At 196 Freeman St. a one-bedroom unit is available for $2,544 per month for one to two occupants with an annual household income between $87,223 – $108,550. Market rate one-bedroom units at the building are listed for $2,850 per month.
Record Store Day returns this Saturday, April 13th and the many record stores in Greenpoint and Williamsburg will be participating by offering limited releases and holding special performances and signings.
Rough Trade (64 N. 9th St.) will open at 9 a.m and is carrying the full roster of RSD releases and will host the following in-store performances and signings:
Performances by: Steve Gunn, Cochemea (The Dap Kings), TEEN, Elijah Wolf, Pearl Charles, and Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed DJ Sets by (Presented by Talkhouse): Charly Bliss, Chris Cohen, Sad 13 (Speedy Ortiz), Madison McFerrin, Ian Williams (Battles), The Range, Blake Schwarzenbach (Jawbreaker, Jets to Brazil) Plus, Elia Einhorn (Talhouse Podcast Host and Producer, Pitchfork Radio) presents Elia’s Indiepop Student Disco Signings with: Wayne Coyne, T Bone Burnett, David J PLUS Rediscovering Ecstacy: Recording with Lou Reed | Panel Moderated by Richard Barone AND The Flaming Lips present The King’s Mouth: An Immersive Installation Kevin Morby and Dead Oceans present ‘Oh My God’ The Film: The Room NOT TO MENTION Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Bel Air Sour and Brooklyn Summer Ale beer tasting from 4pm-7pm Giveaways from Bowery Presents, The Heatonist, and more… Set Times 12:00 | Steve Gunn
12:45 | Charly Bliss DJ Set
1:30 | Eli Paperboy Reed
2:15 | Madison McFerrin DJ Set
3:00 | Elijah Wolf
3:45 | DJ Sad13 (Speedy Ortiz)
4:30 | TEEN
5:15 | Chris Cohen DJ Set
6:00 | Richard Barone presents Rediscovering Ecstasy: Recording with Lou Reed
7:00 | Elia’s Indiepop Student Disco
7:45 | Cochemea
8:30 | Ian Williams (Battles) DJ Set
9:15 | Pearl Charles
10 | Blake Schwarzenback (Jawbreaker, Jets to Brazil)
A public forum on the construction progress of the new Greenpoint Library (107 Norman Ave.) will take place later this month.
The neighborhood’s only public library closed in July 2017 and construction was originally expected to finish in the winter of 2018, but the discovery and removal of asbestos in the former foundation and related delays have pushed the expected completion to this fall.
Greenpoint’s first-ever alcohol-free bar Getaway (158 Green St.) opened Tuesday night as an alternative social space for people who may not be keen on consuming alcohol while having a night out on the town.
Similar alcohol-free bars have opened across the U.S. from Maine to Illinois recently including the NYC pop-up Listen Bar, which had a successful pop-up in Williamsburg last year and is currently crowdfunding for its first ‘booze-free’ permanent location with nearly $23,000 raised so far out of its $25,000 goal.
Getaway co-owner Sam Thonis was a bit ahead of the trend when the inspiration for Getaway’s concept came to him while he witnessed a relative of his go sober a couple of years ago. Thonis’s entrepreneurial gears were already turning at the time as he sought to open a business in Greenpoint where he’s lived for nine years. He and co-owner Regina Dellea cite a visit to ABC Kitchen in Manhattan as further inspiration as they took an interest in the restaurant’s homemade soda menu.
Wrong Side of the River, a new gallery space in Greenpoint, will open this week with, ‘Wonderland,’ a show featuring the work of painters Buket Savci and Jacob Hicks on Friday, April 12th, at 67 West St. Suite 312 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Today female physicians are the norm, but in 1908 when Mary Crawford became Brooklyn’s first female ambulance surgeon at Williamsburg Hospital people were shocked and her male colleagues were outraged. What’s more, Crawford never would have gotten the job had it not been for a mistake, but lets backtrack and tell the story of this remarkable local doctor.
When Mary “Mollie” Crawford was born in 1884 in Manhattan women were not expected to have careers, let alone become medical doctors, but thanks to pioneering females like Dr. Crawford that changed. She grew up in a large wealthy family in Nyack, New York and then Mollie went off to Cornell. At Cornell Mollie excelled at basketball and crew, but also in the classroom. She was accepted into Cornell Medical School and graduated in 1907. Crawford wanted to work in a hospital, but very few hospitals seriously entertained the idea of hiring a female physician.
Most hospitals looking for interns stipulated that only men could apply, but somehow, serendipitously, Williamsburg Hospital screwed up and they forgot to say that only men could apply. Crawford applied, the only female of thirty-five applicants, but Crawford bested all the male applicants on the admissions test and the hospital reluctantly had to hire her to work as an ambulance doctor. Her male colleagues were horrified and the hospital was reportedly scared to death. She would become the first female ambulance surgeon in Brooklyn.
In those days horses pulled ambulances and doctors treated their patients at the scene. Her first case was on Manhattan Avenue where she treated a man for severe lacerations who had fallen from a window. Being the first female doctor, there was no female uniform, but Dr. Crawford designed her own. She proved to be a highly skilled and unflappable physician who treated many patients in the sugarhouses that once were the major employer here. She defied deranged patients, drunks and even bites while treating her patients. In 1910 she started her own medical practice in Brooklyn alongside her work at the hospital. Continue reading →