Even in 1872, South Brooklynites Were Complaining About Their Horrific Commutes

"The Ferry at Brooklyn, New York" engraved by G.K.Richardson. Image via Ancestry Images

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    In 1872 — long before the current transit woes of South Brooklynites were answered with soon-to-be expanded ferry service and de Blasio’s plan for a Brooklyn streetcar — one resident wrote in to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle complaining of horrendous commutes.

    From a $0.10 stage coach fare to the 20-minute wait at the Gowanus drawbridge and ferries stuck in mud and ice at Fulton Landing, this horrific transit tale may make you feel much better about waiting an extra 10 minutes at the subway platform.

    Statement of Grievances and Suggestion of Remedies — Car, Ferry and Drawbridge Management.

    To the Editor of the Brooklyn Eagle:

    Why is it that the attention of your reporters is not oftener turned to “Sought Brooklyn?” This unexplored country lies between Atlantic Street, East River and the Bay, a good square mile. It is a will built locality, and must be an enlightened community from the number of Eagles sold in Court and Columbia streets, but to citizens of the other parts of Brooklyn, it is only known as on the route to Greenwood.

    South Brooklyn has become a city of itself. No doubt you have heard of the Sixth and Tenth Wards, especially about election times. Well, we have our troubles and whom else should we tell them? We can’t get to New York on time. Since the uptown business movement there, we have to depend on the Court street cars and go to Fulton Ferry, although we have the Hamilton. It is run in such a neglect manner it is of no convenience, the boats being old, dirty and irregular.

    On the New York side you have to take a stage, fare ten cents. That is too much of an outrage for Brooklynites. It may do for Yorkers. So for economy and speed we have to go to Fulton Ferry by the cars, and as they cross Gowanus canal we have the pleasure of waiting some time — twenty minutes — for some mud scows to pass the draw. Four or five will come at once.

    If the South and Hamilton ferries can’t be made of some use why not have a railroad through Hicks as once proposed. Now every thing tends to Fulton Ferry, which, since the introduction of iron boats has not the facilities for such crowds. The Farragut and Fulton are so slow and clumsy they throw the other boats out of time, and they become dangerously overcrowded while waiting for the “iron clads” to beat up from Williamsburgh when they drift at flood tide, or get away from the head of the slip at ebb, where they usually stick sideways and in ice the Company are afraid to run them at all.

    It will be some years before the bridge gives us relief. Can’t some thing be done in the meantime?

    Dixie.

    [Source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle]

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