When I stood in the hallway of my building in Brooklyn, I could smell the sweet scents from the neighborhood factories. There was Drakes Bakery on Clinton Avenue where they made snack cake products such as Devil Dogs, Coffee Cakes, Ring Dings and Yodels. The bakery is now the Benjamin Bannxer Academy for Community Development, charter school, named after the 18th century African American astronomer, surveyor, mathematician and almanac writer, who helped lay out the city of Washington D.C.
Then there was Sweet ‘n Low Packing Corporation on Cumberland Street. Sweet’ n Low is a brand of artificial sweetener made primarily from granulated saccharin and was packaged in small pink packets. The five-story plant closed after sixty years.
My neighborhood was historic in many ways. We also had the Brooklyn Navy Yard which served as America’s premier naval shipbuilding facility for 165 years. I remember hearing the loud horns when the ships would be coming into port. They were huge! The yard was decommissioned in 1966. It is now home to Steiner Studios. Steiner Studios is the largest film and television production studio complex in the United States outside Hollywood. It is founded by David Steiner a New Jersey real estate developer.
Then we had Commodore Barry Park Brooklyn’s oldest park. It is named after Commodore Barry, who founded the adjacent Brooklyn Navy Yard. This is where we picnic and played. It was just across the street from my apartment building, so with an adult, I could go to the park and play.
While I was growing up I didn’t realize the significance of Brooklyn or it’s creation. The building that I lived in Raymond V. Ingersoll apartments was named after the borough president of Brooklyn Raymond Ingersoll who was also the Brooklyn Parks Commissioner in 1917. The SS Raymond V. Ingersoll was a liberty ship built during World War II and was named also after the borough president. I would think you would have to have an extraordinary character to have building developments and a ship named after you.