The Brooklyn Daily Eagle from Brooklyn, New York on December 18, 1932 · Page 84
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The Brooklyn Daily Eagle from Brooklyn, New York · Page 84

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Brooklyn, New York
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 18, 1932
Page:
Page 84
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DECEMBER IS, 193Z "1 The Eagle's Book of the Week Reviewed by George Currie Pigs in Street, Dust in Milk But Frederick Van Wyck Recalls That Little Old New York Was Filled With Fascination, None the Less Thry put their heads together. The Irishman drove in a load of hay, sold all but 200 pounds, drove round to the Erie o!!ice at 4 am., backed up to the entrance and turned away A lUUe later, he had a heavy load, covered with the hay. The alary goes tha the books ere buried. "I myself know that his mortgage was saMMird. and that th books lor the Erie were never found . . .".one reads. IE TURNS from telling us that the Van Wyck account is -he oldest on the books of Park At Tilford who started in business w:'h Tilford sleeping under the counter and Par sleeping In a tiny room big enough for only one, upstairs to relate the adventures of a Summer at Port Washington. Staten Island. Great Neck, travels at road, the theater of the earlier days ard later, the RECOLLECTIONS OF AN OLD NEW TOSHES. - kr Fredrrirk Vu Wytk. Uloitrmlr ky Ms-tuda Brawn (Llveriiht, Inc.) . MR. VAN WYCK, of all people, 1 qualified to write of the New York that has passed from sight. Be was born and bred a New Yorker, the son of a long line of VJn Wycks deriving from Cornelius Burentse Van Wyck. who setUed in Flabush in 1660. His wife, Matilda Browne, ho did the illustrations, one of which ft reproduced on this page, numbers among her ancestors Elder Brewster. This pair are steeped In the traditions and ideals of the country, which, in their youth, was still new. One mentions all this at the outset, if only to throw against it the wit and keen humor of the writer and the not Infrequent gaiety of the drawings. From the book one gets the not'on that Old New York was not such a jaa place to live in, for all that we have become so cosmopolitan, improved and fast-moving. Consider the peace and quiet of the single elevated train on this page in contrast to the roaring, ear-splitting din of our subways. But befjre you sigh for the good old days, 'et Mr. Van Wyck remind us of how re milk was delivered when he was a boy. "The milkman of the Sixties drove a wagon with one horse," he recalls. "On the wagon was a platform aith a railing all around and steps up the back. There were four cans on the platform, holding forty quarts of milk each. From these cans the milkman dipped the milk with a long-handled ladle and filled your pitcher, which had previously been placed under the front stoop by your cook. Here it stayed in the air and dust until he came. "There were no germs in ihose days, or we would have been dead long ago. for the milkman dipped the milk from his cans in all kinds of weather, hot or cold, rain, snow and dust. Surely the germs must have had every chance while your pitcher waited for the cook to take it Into the house, as it had no cover! It offered every opportunity for germs to foregather. There were no such things as bottles for the white fluid; all the bottles were filled with colored' liq lids!" "V.THERS have gone in for relating the things Mr. Van Wyck tells of the celebrities of the past, so let us go browsing about in search of the homely, lively Incidents in which the book abounds. For instance, did you know that there are still battered milestones along Third Avenue, on the Boston road, no less? "The gondolas which are or, at least, were, till not so long ago on the lake In Central Park were bought many years ago," we read. "One of the more brilliant individuals amongst the City Fathers made this excellent suggestion when told how many were being bought: "Why buy eight? Why not buy two and let-nature take its course?" At least the City Fathers, in those days, were inclined, apparently, to keep down expenses, for all that later on we read an account which, alia. Is all too familiar to so many of us. In which Mr. Van Wyck and his wife spent forty-four minutes going from one window to another, waiting upon the condescension of city employes, merely 10 register lease. That 'pest, the English sparrow, was imported Into New York some lime around 1863, to rid the city of the blight of worms that were devouring the ali-anthus trees anyhow, that was what we were told by our brilliant City Fathers," he writes. "The sparrows, as It happens, have hard bills; and no bird with a hard bill ever eats worms. So the worms were saved to the annoyance of the citizens. However, the trees finally decided to die without the heip of a city ordinance, and the worms had to go The old !inlh elsewhere for their provender. Eut the sparrows remained!" As for the rest of New Y'-rk's fauna, read this: "Grandfather introduced the resolution with the Board of Aldermen that pigs should not be allowed any longer to run loose in the streets and consume the garbage that was put :n the gutters by the housewives, and that there should be a system inaugurated to collect and dispose of the garbage. If you look at one of the old Currier & Ives prints, you will see His Majesty the Hog consuming the garbage at the corner ot Wall and Broad Streets." LIE RELATES a story of the visit of the Prince of Wales, who w-as to become Edward VII; how he came to New York and soon wearied of the endless round of formal functions and ex- pressed a desire to see the city incognito. James Gordon Bennett, always eager 'or a big time, connjvtd wuh the volunteer fire department to run up a ladder to the Prince's aindow. And the Edwardian dignity climbe.i dcn the ladder, to go for a stroll along the Great White Way with the man-eating publisher. It seems the party was so fascinating that the prince didr.'T get back until t:30 am., arriving to I "id the hotel management in a panic ard the New York Police Department in a turmoil. Arenue Ulrrult'd We turn lrcm laughing at Bridget, the new cock from Ireland, who tried to broil a lobster in front of fie fire with a pound of butter on its bk, only to have the crustacean walk avay and spread grease all over the kitchen floor, to discover that in his bojhood only such blocks were watered as had residents willing to pay for it. "So the city was patches f rt and dry but not from the ISth Amendment!" he adds dryly. Echoes of the great Eiie scandal in this book take us all the way to Scars-dale, where an Irishman with a heavily mortgaged home was wondering ahat he was going to do when the sheriff came around. Jim FVk knew of his plight It fitted Into his plans. The Irishman needed to ret rid of his mortgage and Jim needed to get rid of the company's books. growing up of the city. But one of the best stoties in the book is near the beginning. "When the Grand Duke Aiexis of Russia visited New York. Ned Warren, on of the ma its of the Union League Clvb, said to my grandfather, -Ehint. I will bet you a dinner that the Duke has never heard ef Elunts Coast PUot. Grandfather replied, 'Make for flf-teen!' "Warren accepted, and Giandfather tent the Duke an autcgrapned copy. "The Duke replied, in a most charming letter. T was brought up on your tec. It is in all cur cavl academies. Our navy could not do without It-' "Warren, mho had forgotten that Grand Alexis mas the Chief Naval Officer of the renal family, pa'd." ND the story of the beginning of Brentano's, as he tells It is no Wse interesting. "The original Brentano war a cripple ho came here from Italy. He asked the privilege of having a newspaper stand in front of the New York Hotel, then on Broadway below Tjird Street. As the proprietor felt sorry tor him. be permitted him to put up a little stand there. Brentano, through his diligence, prospered, and a hen the great prise fight between Hrenan and SavTcs as to take place In England for the championship between the United States and England, Brentano had the forethought and enterprise to send over for the London papers containing the account off the fight. This was. of 0"rse. before any Atlantic cable "He sent over all the money he could scrape together; and ahn the vessel bringing the London papers docked. Brentano a as there and started selling his papers at 25 cents each. Before he reached hia stand in front of the New York Hotel, people were Wding tl a piece for the papers! "The money derived from the sale of this paper, the lndoc Times, was the norirui of the capital that started Errnlane's But space melta away tat-l a hen poring through this gold mine of the eld times Mr. Van Wyck led an active life, but also an observant one. He bred New York. And New York trips out of hi pages. venerable city with tradition, traditions we of a less careful generation might not have suspected existed. Here are things net to be had In a history, told with rclnh and relished by the reader.

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