Today, Brooklyn is home of all things avant-garde, but King’s County has always led the pack. Beginning as early as 1868, the women of Brooklyn established one of the first suffrage organizations in the country and began advocating for women’s enfranchisement and political equality. The “wise women of Brooklyn,”as they were lauded in suffrage literature, made some of the foremost contributions to the movement. From the Silent Sentinels, who organized the first March on Washington, to the African American women who established the nation’s first suffrage organization by and for black women, Brooklyn was home to extraordinary advocates. Here are 8 badass Brooklynites who brought us the ballot.
All posts by Lucie Levine
Photo via Wally Gobetz/Flickr
You know that Old King Cole had a pipe and bowl, but did you know he also had a cloak and dagger? New York’s hyper-illustrious St. Regis Hotel, home to the famous King Cole Bar, has a clandestine pedigree that goes straight to its core. Founded by a family of spies, the Hotel became headquarters for the nation’s wartime spy service, and in the process helped inspire not only the Bloody Mary cocktail but also the Invasion of North Africa.
Photo of the 1931 Beaux Arts Ball courtesy of the Van Alen Institute
The architects who built the Jazz Age really knew how to get down. In January 1931, they turned the city’s annual Beaux Arts Ball into the ultimate Gatsby-approved bash. Instead of the stuffy historicism of years past, the party’s theme was “Fête Moderne — a Fantasie in Flame and Silver.” Advance advertising for the Ball in the New York Times promised an event “modernistic, futuristic, cubistic, altruistic, mystic, architistic and feministic,” featuring the city’s most renowned architects dressed as their buildings, celebrating both themselves and the modern fantasy metropolis they had forged in flame and silver. Art Deco New York: the skyscraper city, glittering and strong, reaching ever higher – through technological advancement and American ingenuity – toward excitement, prosperity, enlightenment, and power.
Arbuckle’s, via Brooklyn Historical Society
Brooklyn is properly known as Kings County. During New York’s Gilded Age, Sugar King Henry Osborne Havemeyer and Coffee King John Arbuckle made sure the borough lived up to its name, building their grand industrial empires on the shores of the East River. By the turn of the 20th century, more sugar was being refined in Williamsburg and more coffee roasted in DUMBO than anywhere else in the country, shaping the Brooklyn waterfront and NYC as a preeminent financial and cultural center. The history of coffee and sugar in this town is as rich and exciting as these two commodities are sweet and stimulating, so hang on to your homebrew and get ready for a New York Story.