John Manbeck, a Brooklyn author and historian, wrote the weekly column “Historically Speaking” at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle from 2003-2012. His new book, “Chronicles of Historic Brooklyn,” is the second published collection of his columns. The book’s wide-ranging chapters detail the history of Brooklyn’s diversity, development and culture from the Dutch all the way to the Dodgers and beyond.
MetroFocus host Rafael Pi Roman spoke with Manbeck about his new book, which Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz called “a true love letter to Brooklyn.”
“It certainly was not an exciting place,” Manbeck said of growing up in the borough’s earlier days. “You went into ‘the city,’ which meant you crossed the bridge, in order to have fun and excitement.”
Much has changed since then. Today, Brooklyn’s rapid development and historic diversity have combined to transform the city’s most populous borough into one of its trendiest.
“With what is happening in Brooklyn, you no longer have to leave. You can go to the Brooklyn arena. As friends of ours have said, you get in the subway and you rise up and suddenly you’re there,” Manbeck told Pi Roman. “It’s much better than Madison Square Garden.”
Read an excerpt from the introduction of “Chronicles of Historic Brooklyn”: