The Brooklyn Museum

5 Interesting Facts

 

01. Houses a Lot of Art

The Brooklyn Museum is home to an art collection with approximately 1.5 million works.

02. Originally Meant to Be The Largest Museum in The World

The museum's designers --  McKim, Mead and White -- planned for it to be the largest art museum in the world! 

But maintenance issues with the building, as well as ability to adequately maintain its collections didn't allow the facility to reach its aspirations. The original design aimed for it to be four times the size of what it actually came to be. 

Undergoing major renovations in early parts of the 20th century, it now stands at 560,000 square feet, making this museum New York City's third largest in terms of sheer physical size.

The initial design for the Brooklyn Museum was four times as large as the actualized version; actualized plans reflect a compromise to the specifications of the New York City government.

03. It Was Once Remote and Lonely

Before 1920, there was no subway station by the Museum, rendering it isolated from Manhattan and the rest of the city.

04. Name Changes

In 1997 The Brooklyn Museum changed its name to Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Then, on March 12, 2004, the museum announced that it would do an about-face and change direction...from changing direction, and go back to its original name. 

05. No Stranger to Controversy

Charles Saatchi exhibition Sensation was hosted here in 1999 and led to a legal war, the basis of which was the city's municipal funding of institutions which featured and exhibited "controversial" art. 

The museum eventually won the battle as the ruling was in its favor on the grounds of the First Ammendment.

 


Prospect Park

5 Interesting Facts

 

01. Surprisingly, Only Second Biggest In The Borough

Prospect Park is huge. Spanning 526 acres. But surprisingly, it's not the biggest park in Brooklyn.

That honor goes to Marine Park, which is all of 798 acres!

02. Same Parents as Central Park

The men who designed quite possibly the most famous park on earth -- Central Park -- designed Prospect Park as well.

Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, after completing Manhattan's Central Park, took on this project afterwards.

What a winning streak.

03. Once a Battleground

The park is where the famous 'Battle of Long Island' took place during the revolutionary war where George Washington's army actually took a loss and retreated. 

However, the British were fought off enough to where Washington, along with his army, was able to retreat to Manhattan.

04. It Was Almost a Collection of Smaller Parks

There was a significant political battle over the concept of a singular, huge park being built as opposed to a collective of smaller parks scattered throughout the area.

Eventually, the supporters and backers of the single park won (obviously) and the park was built by a state-appointed commission.

05. No Natural Bodies of Water

All the waterways and lakes in Prospect Park are man-made.


Grand Army Plaza

5 Interesting Facts

 

01. Originally a Battleground

Before any of the beautiful structures (the arch, the fountain, the granite columns, etc) were erected, the ground on which the Grand Army Plaza was built, served as a battleground for the first battle of the American Revolution called the 'Battle of Long Island'.

02. A "Minor" Pause on Construction

In 1865, the construction of the Plaza resumed.

From what?

A minor incident you might've heard about called the US Civil War, which stalled it.

03. Some Harsh Words in Late 1800's

In 1887, the plaza got the following not-so-glowing review, courtesy of the Parks Commission: a “failure."

In its 1888 Annual Report, the Commission said it was...

“...devoid of all life and a stony waste.
 
“...suggestive of Siberia in winter and Sahara in the summer.

— Parks Commission

Ouch.

This was due to economic hard time of the 1873 putting a halt to much of the work on the Plaza in that decade. And the scathing reviews were part of the Park Commission's efforts to have it rebuilt.

04. Name Change

Grand Army Plaza, once upon a time, went by a different name -- Prospect Park Plaza. The current iteration of its name came about in 1926 observe the 60th anniversary of the foundation of  the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army and other military services who served in the American Civil War.

05. The Busiest Traffic Circle in The Borough

Not only is the Grand Army Plaza on the corner of Prospect Park's main entrance, but the area around the arch is the biggest and busiest traffic circle in all of Brooklyn.


The Central Library (Brooklyn Public Library)

5 Interesting Facts

 

01. One of The Biggest & Highest Attended Public Library Systems

The Brooklyn Central Library is part of the Brooklyn Public Library, which is the 5th biggest public library system in all of the United States. Not only that, its programs have one of the highest attendance rates, and as reported, in 2009 it had the highest in the US.

Speaking of the public library system it is a part of, is actually an Independent non-profit organization and gets its funding from multiple sources, ranging from city, state, and federal governments as well as private donors.

02. Huge Attendance At The Facility

A staggering million + people come through the library every year.

03. Not Just a Building, But a Piece of Art

Central Library of the Brooklyn Public Library is considered today as one of the great Art Deco buildings in all of the United States.

04. More Than Just a Library

The library has a state-of-the art auditorium (S. Stevan Dweck Center for Contemporary Culture) which seats 189 people where lectures, musical performances, and many other events are held. The plaza of this library hosts concerts during the summer.

05. It Is a Landmark

In 1997, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, which is the New York City agency charged with administering the city's Landmarks Preservation Law, officially landmarked the facility.


 

The Stone House

5 Interesting Facts

 

01. It's a Stunt Double

What you see today is in fact not (totally) the original variant. Today's Old Stone House is a 1933 reconstruction, which uses some original materials, of the Vechte–Cortelyou House, which was destroyed in 1897.

So, it's mostly a replica of a Dutch stone farmhouse originally built next to the current site by the Dutch immigrant Claes Arentson Vechte in the year 1699.

02. It Was Once a.....Baseball Clubhouse

At one time, the Old Stone House was the clubhouse of the Brooklyn Superbas, who later became the Brooklyn Dodgers.

And before that, it even served as a club house for a winter skating team.

03. A Key Location in The Battle of Long Island

On August 27, 1776, the house was a key location in the Battle of Long Island during the American Revolutionary War; the first major showdown post Declaration of Independence. This was also the largest battle of the entire war.

04. Historic Place, Officially

The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.

05. An Ode To Maryland

In our video, and upon your visit, you will notice a Maryland state flag on the Stone House.

This is because during the Battle of Long Island, 256 Maryland troops were killed in front of the Old Stone House. Washington, watching from nearby Cobble Hill, reportedly said, "Good God, what brave fellows I must this day lose!"

The 256 dead troops of the Maryland 400 were buried by the British in a mass grave on a hillock.

It was from this battle that Maryland gained its nickname "The Old Line State".