A look at Brooklyn, then and now.
The Bedford Rest was established as a destination and rest stop in the late 1890s for the hundreds of cyclists enjoying Bedford Avenue and Eastern Parkway. As the years passed, and the cycling fad waned, the Rest maintained its reputation as a fine restaurant and event space near the excitement of Ebbets Field and Automobile Row. All was well, until Prohibition.
When we think of Prohibition today, it’s remembered as a time when the nation disastrously toyed with a powerful experiment in social engineering. Banning alcoholic beverages seems ridiculous today. No doubt people thought so then, too, and were shocked when it actually happened.
Between 1920 and 1933, alcohol was illegal in the United States. The effects were devastating not only to consumers, but to businesses.
Across the country, breweries, distilleries, wine and spirits merchants, restaurants, saloons and bars went out of business by the thousands.Organized crime, based on bootlegging, grew and flourished.
The country went dry on January 17, 1920. By November of that year, the Bedford Rest was finished. Although the Rest had been running out of steam for years, Prohibition was the final nail in its coffin.