On New Year’s Day, 1897, Brooklyn’s premiere physical culturist, Professor Mac Levy, received a late holiday gift from the fitness gods. That evening he was at the Union League Club, on Dean and Bedford Avenues, giving the membership a lecture and demonstration of his journey from a consumptive and puny teenager to a fit and super strong modern day Hercules. Afterwards, he had planned to join friends downtown for some New Year’s Day cheer. They all met near the Elks Club on Schermerhorn Street, after which Mac Levy was headed for the trolley that would take him to his home on Union Street.
Because it was New Year’s Day, and because it was cold and miserable out, the trolley was nowhere to be found. The Professor was no longer in a good mood. He was walking up Court Street and had almost reached Union when two men stepped out from behind a building and demanded his money. It was late, and cold, and the police patrol was nowhere around, and he had been made to walk home. The old Max Levy would have handed his money over, and prayed he got home in one piece. Professor Mac Levy, the “young Hercules” whispered a prayer of thanks for this gift, and got busy. (more…)
We have been trying to improve the human body since we became aware of its strength and beauty. Mankind has been exercising for a very long time. We may have started with “run for your life” being a literal cry to escape predators, but in the centuries that followed our trip from the cave to the city, that mantra is still popular, although perhaps “run for life” is more accurate. The ancient Greeks and other civilizations glorified the perfect physical body, after all, they established the Olympics, and left an artistic record of their pursuit of the body beautiful, an ideal many still strive to reach. The Romans incorporated that ideal into their civilization, as they did so many of the ideals of their conquered foes.
The Dark Ages in Europe obliterated that Greco-Roman philosophy. Between plagues and religious zealotry regarding the sinfulness of the human body, physical perfection took a rest of a few centuries. But the Renaissance restored the glorification of the body human, and as nations rose and fell, so too did the idea of fitness. Of course, the lower classes utilized physical strength much more than the upper classes, so those above were getting weak, compared to those below. That did not go without notice, and over the course of the next few hundred years, various programs of physical fitness were delineated and put into practice in different countries and communities. (more…)
This new listing at the Ansonia in the South Slope is a good-looking apartment. The two-bedroom duplex has high (wood) ceilings, nice windows and light and an attractively renovated kitchen. The monthly maintenance is just $1,024 and the asking price is $1,495,000. Nice, right?
Back in 2004 or so, a periodical called, most appropriately, “Brooklyn Magazine” began appearing on the newsstands. The monthly magazine was of a high quality, with photographs and articles about neighborhoods, history, and culture, as well as articles about the new things coming into Brooklyn every day. I think Brooklyn author Jonathan Lethem may have penned an article or two for it. Brooklyn Magazine had its offices on Atlantic Avenue, in the antiques district, very prominently on the block between Hoyt and Bond, where the Hope Vet Clinic is today. This was back when there was an antiques district on Atlantic Avenue.
I liked the magazine, and subscribed to it. One of the topics in an article in 2005 was about the new thing in communication called blogging and the mag published a list of Brooklyn blogs. That was how I discovered Brownstoner. The blog was in its second year by then. I was working in a job with a lot of down time, and I had plenty of opportunity to immerse myself in the site. I was immediately hooked. (more…)
Work is moving forward on a few sites at the massive Greenpoint Landing development at the northern tip of Greenpoint. Excavation is underway at 21 Commercial Street, above. The 82,476 square foot building will have 93 units and 2,577 square feet of commercial space when its complete.
Last week the Daily News took a look at the design of the 22 acre waterfront park that will be an integral part of the development. Rather than building high sea walls to protect the development against future storms like Hurricane Sandy and rising sea levels, the designers are taking a softer approach. They are using sloping terraces and areas planted with salt-tolerant plants. “When people think of resiliency measures, they think they have to look tough and ugly, but there are actually innovative ways to do the same things while still looking soft and beautiful,” Lisa Switkin, one of the landscape architects on the project with James Corner Field Operations, told the News.
Across the street and a bit further south, on Dupont Street, the city’s Department of Environmental Protection has torn down the sludge tank that had been on the site, as reported, and was busy conducting remediation, removing soil, to prepare the site for its transformation to parkland. At 33 Eagle street a block over, the site of another future mixed-income building, construction has yet to begin.
Click through for more images of 21 Commercial Street, a rendering of the park and the sludge tank site.