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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

80? Years Ago in the Red Hook Community Room

  As many of you know, community hearings are starting to take place in waterfront communities regarding the new proposed BQX Light Rail Line.  On of the hearings\workshops was held, I believe in the Red Hook Housing complex as well.  I posted the above picture from the net, which I believe is the picture of the hearing there.

   I believe the Red Hook Projects opened in the 1930's and was one of the first public housing projects in Brooklyn.  A relative of mine was one of the first tenants in that complex occasionally went to hearings and community meetings and classes, perhaps in that very room.

  In the 1930's, perhaps in 1936, 80 years ago, guess who was a guest speaker?  Yes, Mayor LaGuardia, the little flower, who was against streetcars.   What did he speak about?  Here are some of his words as he pounded his fist into the table:

  Get Rid of The Streetcars,  Get rid of them now!  Get Rid of the Slot Machines!

 I asked my relative, what did the audience think of this? They looked at him like he was a crazy man!

In the 1930's in Brooklyn, Brooklyn streetcars were run by the private BMT organization.  The BMT was very pro transit and streetcars.  By the middle thirties, only some minor streetcar lines were bustituted.  The system remained mainly intact then, with huge cars on the Flatbush Avenue, Utica Avenue, Nostrand Avenue, Fifth Avenue lines and so many other lines, fully functioning and doing heavy duty work.  The gasoline buses, were smelly and shook themselves apart after a few years and had few seats at that time compared to streetcars.  In the early 1920.'s, parts of southern Brooklyn was being developed and certain streets, such as Avenue U, 13th Avenue, Foster Avenue and so on were ready for surface transit.  The BMT or BRT at that time wanted to build streetcars lines for these new routes, but the City of NY refused.

It is ironic that in the same room, about 80 years ago, speeches were given to destroy the streetcars and now there a talks to bring them back,  hopefully.

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