Posts Tagged ‘City of Brooklyn’

Hanging up the wash in a Brooklyn backyard

October 31, 2016

This bucolic scene of a woman hanging clothes to dry in the sun really is in Brooklyn—the Brooklyn of the 1880s, that is, a boom time that gave the city new neighborhoods, parks, and of course, the Brooklyn Bridge.

washdaybrooklyn

Impressionist painter William Merritt Chase lived in Brooklyn from 1887 to 1890, and he often depicted it in his work: Prospect Park, Tompkins Park, and the East River were popular subjects.

“Wash Day—A Backyard Reminiscence of Brooklyn” shows a more intimate side of life in Kings County in a still country-like section of the city. A lone figure hidden behind a bonnet and in the shadows pins sheets to a clothesline, a necessary but mundane task no machine was available to do.

“City Hall Square” in downtown Brooklyn

March 16, 2011

The postcard is dated 1910, but it must have been made earlier than that. Brooklyn ceased being a separate city in 1898, and City Hall was downgraded to Borough Hall.

In the foreground stands the Henry Ward Beecher statue, a monument to Brooklyn Heights’ most famous preacher, abolitionist, social reformer—and accused adulterer.

His adultery charges and subsequent trial in 1875 (jurors were unable to reach a verdict) became the scandal of the century.