Revisiting a ‘haunted castle’ 30 years later

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When I hear “Domino Park,” I think of the small park on SW 8th Street in Miami, where the old Cuban men play dominoes, but there’s a new Domino Park in Brooklyn. It’s the site of the old Domino Sugar refinery.  They created a new park and ultra modern condos are going up along the park, you can see it in the rendering above.

What I love about Domino Park is the old, haunted? Domino plant itself. You can see it in the photo below and you can see it sort of renovated above. Apparently they are going to leave most of it alone. It was built in 1856. Domino Park will redefine the neighborhood just as Gantry Plaza Park redefined the Long Island City waterfront a hop skip and a canoe ride up the river. I visited Domino Park this week with my cousin Roni we checked out the neighborhood and had lunch. This is near where I was born in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, a quite different place than the Brooklyn of years ago.

I love this old building in all its decreptness and always have since the day I came upon it in the mid 1980s. I was lost in Brooklyn and ended up right in front of the plant. It was blacker then, full of soot and scarier and bigger. I turned the block and there it was, all Harry Potter-like. I didn’t know what it was but I was intrigued. I couldn’t get in, but the front gates were open and I stared at it for awhile. I’ve thought of it so many times over the years and each time we passed it when on the Circle Line boat ride or on a Ferry, I would stare at it, imagining the inside.

Now thirty years later, I’ll be able to go into the old building, in what looks like an glass-enclosed bar/restaurant on the roof. That part is not complete yet, but I’m looking forward to it. I feel the old plant is haunted. It sits right next to the Williamsburg Bridge and is so easy to get to, it’s right on the waterfront, a few blocks from the center of Williamsburg hipsterhood.

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The New York Herald

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Herman Hyneman, 1899

Whenever I’m in New York, I look for the New York Herald building in Herald Square. I stand in front of Macy’s and look around and try to imagine which of the old buildings is the Herald. But of course that building is long gone.  It stood on the triangle at Broadway and 6th Avenue between 35th and 36th Streets. It originally was downtown on Park Row where most of the newspapers in the 19th century were, but in 1895 James Gordon Bennett, Sr., founder, moved the newspaper uptown.

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Detroit Publishing Co. (ca. 1900-10) – George Grantham Bain

I had only seen photos from the front, which faces downtown and love seeing these photos which I came upon recently where you can see the whole side of the ornate building. Shame that it is gone as is so much of old New York

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People watching the presses roll. Photo: Detroit Publishing Co. (ca. 1900-10) – George Grantham Bain

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Herald Square, New York. Minerva & the Bell Ringers, 1895. Sculptor: Antonin Jean Carles

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Herald Square, 1903

What’s depressing is that the building is now this bland structure which houses a Santander Bank and a Duane Reade drugstore.

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The Brooklyn Bridge 1899

This is an old film taken by Thomas Edison in 1899. It’s a trip across the Brooklyn Bridge.

But this week, there is a documentary opening in New York about W. Frank Brinton who took films of the era including the Brooklyn Bridge, also in 1899.

Brinton was from the midwest and he traveled around the the midwest in the late 1890s, early 1900s, showing his films. The Brooklyn Bridge was the tallest structure in the country at the time. Historians are guessing at the year of his film, but are using the advertisements on billboard shown, as a clue. You can see that here at Time magazine’s site, where they also explain the find of Brinton’s old lost films. Brinton’s film is much clearer and easier to view than Edison’s.

It’s interesting how people just run across the tracks. And I love how the same light poles are there today and the feel is the same today if you’ve ever taken a trip across the bridge walking or on the train.

It’s amazing that the film is still around since so many of that era deteriorated over time. Mr. Brinton passed away in 1919 and for almost 100 years, his films were lost with time.

The films were found in 1981, stored in a farmhouse basement.

A new documentary called “Saving Brinton” opened this week which tells Brinton’s story and shows some of his work.

Let’s go back to NYC 1911

This film is amazing. It’s New York City in 1911. It’s so interesting, just seeing the people is amazing. So many of the buildings are still standing today, it amazes me that the clocks in the Madison Square area, near the Flatiron building are still there today and I love seeing the old New York Herald building which is in a few shots.

Sound has been added, this isn’t the sound from that period, but it fits in perfectly and you really are transported to 1911 and the streets of NYC. We’re time traveling.

Time travel

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I like to look for time travel whenever I can.

I belong to some groups on Facebook that post old photos and this one popped up. It’s Miami Beach in the 1920s. But look at the couple on the left, are they looking at a cell phone? Probably not, it’s probably a book or mirror or something, but it appears like some sort of smart phone.

And the guy’s leg. Why is his left leg so much larger than his left leg? Was it affected during his vortex return from the future?

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Then there is this photo that has been making the rounds on the internet for years. This hipster dude in the 1940s looks out of place, but it turns out the t-shirt is of the Montreal Maroons, a hockey team that played around that time. Those type sunglasses were available at the time and the small camera was available by Kodak at the time.

The Miami News

miami-newsI was at Miami’s history museum last week, HistoryMiami and I saw this. Sad. An old Miami News newspapers box. Strange to see it in a history museum, but it is history. It was there in the museum along with old Pan Am airway stuff and Miami Vice things and stuff that you really don’t realize are part of history because they are not that old, but then again, yesterday is history.

I like the “fresher news every day” on the side of the box. They were the afternoon paper, the Miami Herald is the morning paper, so I guess The News did have fresher news. But then again, in the morning, The Herald had fresher news . . .

They had the last issue of The Miami News at the museum, it was just there. I wanted to pick it up and thumb through it but didn’t know if that was permitted, but it wasn’t under glass. It was just there.

The last issue was printed on December 31, 1988. I saved that issue and have it somewhere.

I’ve never been the Newseum in Washington, DC, but I bet they have a bunch of these boxes there. I can sort of picture a big area where they are all lined up – The New York Mirror, The Philadelphia Bulletin, The Los Angeles Examiner, The Tamps Tribune and so on.

I like a feature that the Newseum website has, they show today’s front pages of the nation’s daily newspapers.